The Kerry Park Islanders’ five-game winning streak came to an end last Wednesday with a 5-3 loss to the Westshore Wolves at the Q Centre, but they bounced back on Saturday night with a 3-2 victory over the same opponent in Mill Bay.
Even though his team earned the split against Westshore, Kerry Park head coach Aaron Spotts didn’t feel his team showed the same form that led to their recent rise through the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League standings.
“Our last month, we’ve been good,” Spotts noted. “But we got away from what made us successful.”
Things looked bad for Kerry Park right away last Wednesday, as Duncan product Kahlil Fontana set up former Islander Parker Ellis for the opening goal, and the Wolves held a 3-0 lead by the halfway mark of the second period. Two goals by Isaac Leik in a two-and-a-half-minute span got the Isles back in the game, but Fontana scored a powerplay goal late in the second to restore Westshore’s two-goal lead.
Brandon McClintick scored with the man advantage in the third to get the Isles within one, but the Wolves scored once more with just over five minutes left to ice the victory.
“I thought we got off to a bit of a slow start,” Spotts commented. “We were kind of fighting it all game. We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be.
“I like the fact that we didn’t quit. We got back in it a couple of times.”
Evan Easton finished the game with two assists, while Charles-Olivier Lepage made 25 saves in the losing cause.
Kerry Park’s other netminder, Rett Rook, was outstanding on Saturday as the Isles paid their annual tribute to former minor hockey goalie Nick Collins and his family, 11 years after Collins died when he was struck by a car at the age of 15. Many former Islanders players came out to show support for the family, who have filled countless volunteer roles for the Isles over many years.
“We were happy to get the win for the Collins family. Obviously, we appreciate everything they’ve done for the Islanders over the years.”
Rook stopped 30 of 32 Westshore shots to earn the victory in the Saturday night rematch.
“Rett Rook played really well,” Spotts said. “He gave us a chance to win that game, a game we probably didn’t deserved to win.”
There was no scoring in the first period, but once again Fontana set up Ellis for the opening goal at 1:50 of the second. Romaeo D’Intino tied the score for the Isles just 32 seconds later, and Riley Windsor and Leik added goals before the middle frame was over. The Wolves made it interesting with a powerplay goal late in the third, and had another goal waved off.
Leik finished the night with a goal and an assist, Alex Engan had two helpers, and Easton added one assist, giving him 34 points on the season, one back of VIJHL scoring leader Mateo Albinati of the Victoria Cougars.
The Isles remain in fourth place in the South Division. They have the same number of points as the second-place Saanich Braves, but the Braves have one game in hand. The teams will meet this Friday in Saanich for their seventh battle of the season. Both teams have won three games at home, and Kerry Park will be looking to change that trend. The Isles play host the Peninsula Panthers on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.