The Kerry Park Islanders had the Remembrance Day weekend off, playing their lone game last week on Thursday as they visited the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League-leading Nanaimo Buccaneers.
Although the Isles were able to kill off all seven of Nanaimo’s powerplay opportunities and capitalize on one of their five, they had to settle for a 3-2 loss.
“I think we played a pretty solid game, even though we came up short,” Islanders owner Mark Osmond said. “The Buccaneers are the best team in the league right now. It was a solid effort. We just had a couple of breakdowns that resulted in goals. The guys worked hard. It’s just too bad we ended up on the wrong side of a 3-2 score.”
After a scoreless first period, the Bucs got on the board first with a shorthanded marker at 1:42 of the second period. Nanaimo added to their lead at 2:36 of the third, but Will Connors scored on the powerplay 57 seconds later to get the Isles in the game
Evan Easton drew Kerry Park even at 11:18 of the third, but Nanaimo answered back 43 seconds after that with what stood up as the game-winner.
“I thought we would get back into it until the last two or three minutes,” Osmond said. “We had the majority of play; we just couldn’t get the tying goal.”
J.J. Pichette kept the Isles in the game with a 29-save outing between the pipes.
The results haven’t matched the players’ hard work the last couple of games, but that’s bound to change.
“[Head coach Aaron Spotts] figures the team has turned a corner as far as effort goes,” Osmond said. “They’re buying into the program.”
The South Division remains a log jam behind the Westshore Wolves, who have 25 points, with four teams — including the Isles —between 17 and 19 points.
The Isles will play a pair of road games this weekend, visiting the Peninsula Panthers on Friday and the Comox Glacier Kings on Saturday.
Both opponents are currently ranked last in their respective divisions.
Kerry Park got veteran defenceman Connor Bissett back in the lineup last Thursday, and he ended up playing nearly 30 minutes.
The team was still without forwards Keenan Eddy and Avery Nielsen-Webb as they continued to serve suspensions, but they should have the entire roster available for Saturday’s game against Comox.
The Isles’ next home game will take place on Nov. 25 when they play host to the Victoria Cougars for the annual Nick Collins Memorial Game. This year marks 10 years since Nick Collins died tragically when he was struck by a car, and the team is hoping for a big turnout of Kerry Park alumni.
“We’re hoping the old guard comes out to support the Collins family,” Osmond said.