Rowan Zapisocki of the Lake Cowichan Kraken skates over the blueline into the Nanaimo Buccaneers’ zone during last Friday’s VIJHL exhibition game at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena. Zapisocki had two goals and two assists in the Kraken’s two preseason games against the Bucs last week. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Rowan Zapisocki of the Lake Cowichan Kraken skates over the blueline into the Nanaimo Buccaneers’ zone during last Friday’s VIJHL exhibition game at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena. Zapisocki had two goals and two assists in the Kraken’s two preseason games against the Bucs last week. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Kraken, Isles wait for word after VIJHL postpones season opener

Cowichan Valley junior B teams eager to get in action after exhibition success

The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season opener between the Lake Cowichan Kraken and Westshore Wolves at the Q Centre on Wednesday night was postponed after players tested positive for COVID in recent days.

The VIJHL made the announcement on its website on Tuesday, but did not specify if the Kraken or the Wolves were among the teams who had players test postitive.

Future games will be assessed on a day-to-day basis, the VIJHL said.

The Kraken are scheduled to host the Comox Valley Glacier Kings at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena on Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m., then visit Kerry Park Arena on Saturday, Sept. 11 for the Islanders’ season-opener at 7:30 p.m. The Isles are also slated to host the Saanich Braves on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.

Both local teams were in action last weekend.

The Kraken split their two exhibition games against the Nanaimo Buccaneers last week, while the Isles swept their home-and-home series with the Glacier Kings, closing out preseason play with a convincing victory on Sunday evening.

The Kraken won 5-4 in overtime against the Bucs on Thursday, Sept. 2, the decisive goal coming from Adrien Hebert a minute and 21 seconds into the extra frame. Kellan Brienan paced the Kraken with two goals, while Rowan Zapisocki had a goal and an assist, and Malcolm Fletcher added two helpers. Julian Rutland scored the other goal, and Jacob Campbell, Suhilpreet Deol, Brendan Almer and Bryce Burnett added single assists. Jake Hebert started in goal, stopping 17 of 18 shots in just over 30 minutes, and Brendan Wilson played the balance, making 20 saves on 23 shots.

Almer opened the scoring with a powerplay goal in front of a sizable home crowd the next night, but the Bucs scored the next three as they rolled to a 6-3 victory. Zapisocki and Ryland Semaniuk each finished with a goal and an assist, and Adrien Hebert had two helpers. Josh Robins went the distance in net, allowing six goals on 36 shots.

The Isles started their preseason with a 3-2 win over the Glacier Kings at Kerry Park Arena on Saturday, Sept. 4. Returning players Jackson Egan and Colten Thompson and recent addition Logan Walker scored the Islanders’ goals, while Jackson Krupa had two assists, and Ben Northcott, Marko Tokic, Reid Fitzpatrick and Kirk Whitaker added one apiece. Dryden Demelo played 60 minutes between the pipes, stopping 25 of 27 shots.

Walker notched a hat trick the next night as the Isles routed the Kings in Courtenay. Fitzpatrick added a goal and three assists, and Tokic, Egan, Thompson, Dylan Parsons and Tobin Bergman each had a goal and one helper. Captain Matt Baird scored the other goal, and Krupa finished with one assist. Eric Young stopped 11 of 12 shots in the Kerry Park net.

VIJHL