The Kerry Park Islanders moved into sole possession of second place in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s South Division with a victory over the Saanich Braves on Friday, but struggled the next night in a close loss to the Peninsula Panthers.
Tanner Tiel scored three times and Evan Easton and Brandon McClintick combined for five assists in Kerry Park’s 5-2 win on Friday.
Prior to Friday’s meeting at George Pearkes Arena, the host team had won each of the six meetings between the Isles and Braves this season, but the Isles flipped that trend.
“It was nice to get a win in that rink,” Kerry Park head coach Aaron Spotts said. “It’s a tough rink to win in. It’s a small rink, so it’s definitely an advantage for them to practice in there.”
After the Braves opened the scoring in the first minute of play, Tiel tied things up for Kerry Park later in the first period. Logan Furkalo gave the Isles their first lead of the game at 1:11 of the second. Tiel added the eventual game-winner a few minutes later, then completed the hat trick with a powerplay goal late in the middle frame. Josh Parkin added a shorthanded goal at the end of the third period. Easton recorded three helpers and McClintick added a pair.
Charles-Olivier Lepage made 48 saves on the night, including 22 on 23 shots in the third period. The Isles went 1-for-3 on the powerplay while killing off six of seven shorthanded situations.
“We got into a bit of penalty trouble in the third and gave up a lot of shots,” Spotts noted. “But our goalie made a lot of saves to keep us in there.”
The Isles were edged 2-1 by the Panthers at Kerry Park Arena on Saturday night.
Tiel opened the scoring with a powerplay goal at 7:08 of the first, but Peninsula replied with a powerplay goal in the second, then went ahead on an even-strength marker midway through the third.
The Panthers had lost six in a row coming into the game, including a 7-3 loss to the Victoria Cougars the night before, and Spotts admitted they looked motivated.
“I thought we got off to a good start, but we lost a bit of our edge in the second and third,” he said. “I think we could have been a bit better. They had a little bit more intensity than us. We’ve got to make sure we’re matching that and playing with intensity the full 60 minutes. We definitely need to get that back for the games this week.”
With his three points on Friday, Easton moved into a tie with Victoria’s Booker Chacalias for the VIJHL scoring lead. Easton has 36 points on 15 goals and 21 assists, while Chacalias has 17 goals and 19 helpers. Tiel is fourth in the league with 34 points on 15 goals and 19 assists. Isaac Leik, who had one assist in each game on the weekend, is seventh with 29 points (15 goals and 14 assists) and McClintick is ninth with 28 points, including a league-best 23 assists.
As a team, the Isles are not only second in the South, but also now have the third-best total in the league, trailing only the Cougars and Nanaimo Buccaneers. The Isles will visit Victoria on Thursday, then host the Braves on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for their final meeting of the season. The Cougars will visit next Tuesday for Kerry Park’s final home game of 2018.