Being in different divisions means the Cowichan Valley’s two junior B hockey teams won’t see a lot of each other this regular season, but if this past weekend’s pair of games is any indication, when they do meet the competition will be fierce.
The Lake Cowichan Kraken and cross-valley rival Kerry Park Islanders played a home-and-home set over the weekend with the Kraken hosting the Isles at Cowichan Lake Sports Arena on Friday, Sept. 30 and the Isles playing host to the Kraken the following evening at Kerry Park Arena.
Lake Cowichan ended up victorious in both contests but it took some extra time and effort in both games to make it happen. The VIJHL sophomores beat the Islanders 3-2 in a shootout on Friday and then needed overtime to earn the 4-3 victory the next night.
“In our last five games we’ve either won by a goal or lost by a goal,” Kerry Park assistant coach Brandon Cox said. “We’ve got a young group with 16 first-year players this year, but they’re working hard and we’re keeping the shots down. The boys are starting to get what it’s like to play in the VIJHL which is not an easy league so I’m happy with the progression.”
Friday night’s game started slowly with neither team scoring in the first frame. Second period goals from Lake Cowichan’s Anthony Wilson and Mitchell Billings gave the Kraken the early lead. Assists were earned by Aiden Eddy and Sukraj Narwal on the Wilson goal, and Andrew White and Jacob Campbell on the Billings marker.
Kerry Park’s two tallies both came in the third: one off the stick of Carson Brown (assists by Ethan Taylor, Colby Robinson) and another from a short-handed goal by Nathan Bouveur (Nathan Da Silva).
The game ended at 2-2 and overtime solved nothing, so it was off to the shootout.
Brown buried Kerry Park’s first shot, but Robinson missed, opening the door for the Kraken.
Anthony Wilson, Billings and White all put the puck past KPI goalie Eric Young to ice the victory for the home team.
Brendan Wilson got the win in net for Lake Cowichan in front of one of the biggest crowds in team history, further cementing the notion that the team steps it up for its fans.
On Saturday, the Kraken visited Kerry Park Arena and while both teams got off to another slow start, this time they shook it off faster. Again Anthony Wilson was the first to score for the Kraken, doing so just under 11 minutes into the game with the helper going to White.
Also once again, it was Carson Brown hitting the score sheet first for the Islanders, getting one in behind goalie Brendan Wilson. The teams ended the first period knotted at 1-1.
“[Brown] is a good kid, a good goal scorer, lots of skill and potential,” said Cox.
The Kraken’s Walker Smith (Rees Aebischer) scored at 2:52 of the second period but the rest of the middle frame belonged to the Isles with Aleko Sdrakas (Lukas Tokic, Bouveur) and Tokic (Jonathon Soares, Sdrakas) getting goals at 11:50 and 19:11 respectively.
The battle was tight in the third with neither team scoring until Aiden Eddy got his first of the year with some help from Kyler Smith and Rylan Hildebrand. The goal forced overtime, and, high off his late-game goal, Eddy managed another just 1:28 into the extra period to give the Kraken the winning goal and its second win in two nights.
Lake Cowichan played Westshore Oct. 5 but the result wasn’t available before press time.
Kerry Park also played Westshore at home on Oct. 2 and fell 4-2. Up next for the Isles is a road game Oct. 7 against Oceanside.