The Kerry Park Islanders were supposed to visit the Saanich Predators last Friday, and the Lake Cowichan Kraken were supposed to play host to the Victoria Cougars, but Mother Nature had other ideas and the cross-Cowichan Valley rivals ended up squaring off with each other.
Conditions related to last week’s floods created some problems for teams travelling the Malahat, so the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League rescheduled the first meeting between the Isles and Kraken, which was originally slated to take place later this season.
The Isles, rallying after a car accident on the previous weekend resulted in injuries to three players and a family member, prevailed 9-4 over the Kraken, led by a 15-point outing for their top line.
Brady Estabrook finished the night with three goals and two assists, and Colton Thompson and Logan Walker each had two goals and three helpers on a big night for the Islanders.
“They were super productive,” Kerry Park head coach Troy Newans said. “They worked well together and found some chemistry.”
Jackson Egan added a goal and an assist, Cameron Nisula scored once, and defenceman Ben Northcott had a pair of assists in the win. Dryden DeMelo stopped 29 of 33 Kraken shots.
Newans wasn’t at the game against the Kraken on Friday, opting to stay home in Parksville because a sinkhole on the highway would have made it a four-hour one-way drive, but he did watch the game on HockeyTV and spoke with Islanders owner and assistant coach Brandon Cox, who took over behind the bench.
“I thought the guys played well,” Newans said. “They were pretty relentless on the forecheck. The bounces went our way, and we benefited from it.”
Anthony Wilson and Rowan Zapisocki each had a goal and an assist for the Kraken, while Kellan Brienan and Adrien Hebert also scored, and Mitchell Billings and Aiden Eddy had two helpers apiece. Josh Robins and Jake Hebert split the goaltending duties, combining for 45 saves on 54 shots.
Friday night’s game was the only one of the weekend for the Isles, but the Kraken were back in action on Saturday, losing 5-2 on the road against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
The Kraken got off to a bad start, taking a penalty for a warmup violation before the game even started. The Kings capitalized on that penalty. Although the Kraken got a powerplay goal of their own a few minutes later, they seemed to be fighting an uphill battle throughout the game. Lake Cowichan nearly killed off an instigator penalty to captain Donovan Griffin before the Kings scored to go up 2-1. The Kraken again tied the score on a goal by Jaxon Krupa in the second, but Comox found the net three times in the third.
Hebert faced 42 shots in the Lake Cowichan net, while Andrew Loewen had to make only 15 saves at the other end.
The Kraken will visit the Nanaimo Buccaneers this Thursday, then play host to the Port Alberni Bombers on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Lake Cowichan is the only team with a loss to the Bucs this year after falling 4-3 on Nov. 14, but Kraken head coach Dan Whiteford said his team won’t be thinking about that in the next meeting.
“Our focus isn’t on beating them just because they beat us,” the coach said. “We just want to get the two points and climb in the standings. Games that seem to be revenge games never seem to go well.”
The Isles have three games this week, starting with visits to the Westshore Wolves on Wednesday and the Victoria Cougars on Thursday. Kerry Park will play host to the Peninsula Panthers on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
According to Newans, all the players involved in the car accident have recovered, and one was expected to skate in practice on Tuesday night. The injured family member is also continuing to recover.
“We’re hoping the guys get healthy,” the coach said. “We miss them in the lineup and want them back on the ice.”