Special teams were huge as the Kerry Park Islanders returned from the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s winter break to split a home-and-home series against the Westshore Wolves on the weekend.
The Isles beat the Wolves 4-3 at Kerry Park Arena on Saturday, then lost 2-1 at the Q Centre on Sunday afternoon. Over the two games, the Isles killed off all eight Westshore powerplays, while scoring two with the man advantage, including Saturday’s game-winner.
“The weekend was awesome,” Islanders owner Carl Ollech said. “The kids came back and played extremely well in both games.”
Kerry Park leading scorer Parker Bergstrom opened the scoring just two and a half minutes into Saturday’s game. The Wolves tied it before the end of the first period, and neither team scored in the second. Westshore pulled ahead two minutes into the third, but defenceman Arsh Dhillon replied 25 seconds later. Cory Mater put Kerry Park up midway through the third, then Matt Baird added some insurance on the powerplay a few minutes later, that goal holding up as the winner when the Wolves potted one more. Mater finished with three points, Riley Windsor had three assists, and Alex Villa had two helpers. Spencer Deakin made 31 saves as the Isles were outshot 34-31.
Villa opened the scoring on Sunday with a powerplay goal midway through the first. The Wolves tied it before the first intermission, then got the winner in the third from former Cowichan Valley Capitals player Lach Hadley on a feed from Mill Bay’s Noah Taron. Nick Haisell stopped 33 pucks as Westshore outshot Kerry Park 35-26.
“They were a little bit tired in the Sunday game,” Ollech commented. “When you work that hard, it does wear on you the next day.”
The Isles will visit the VIJHL bottom-dwelling Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Friday, then host the Victoria Cougars on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.