With just a few days to catch their breath after the end of the regular season, the Kerry Park Islanders will head into the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs late this week.
As they’ve known for a while, the Isles will face the Victoria Cougars in the first round, beginning at the Archie Browning Arena on Thursday. The teams will play at Kerry Park at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, back at Archie Browning on Sunday afternoon, and at Kerry Park again next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Any further games will be determined by the results of the first four, and Islanders owner Mark Osmond is hoping the teams keep playing after that.
"We’re not going to lay down and let them run roughshod," he said.
The Cougars finished with the VIJHL’s top point total, but the Islanders, who placed fourth in the South Division, plan to make things difficult for them.
"There’s no pressure on us,"
Osmond said. "The pressure’s all on them. We just need to stay out of the box. Five-on-five, I don’t think anyone else can give them a challenge like we can."
The Isles split their last two regular season contests, losing 5-1 to the Peninsula Panthers last Friday and beating the Saanich Braves 5-2 at home on Saturday.
A superb effort by the Islanders led to a scoreless first period on Friday, but the Panthers got ahead in the second. Former Panther Nick Kean, scored for Kerry Park.
The Isles played a much stronger game on Saturday, and got two goals and an assist from Francis Slicer, one of each from Trevor Beauregard and Brendan Gowanlock, and a goal from David Bittner in the victory.
Attention now turns toward the playoffs, with Osmond reiterating that his team will go all-out.
"We’ve got nothing to lose," he said.
Any Kerry Park or Cowichan Valley minor hockey players who show up in their team jerseys can get in for just $5.