The Kerry Park Islanders got off to a flying start in November by winning their first three games of the month and climbing over the .500 mark.
The Isles opened the month with road victories over the Westshore Wolves and Nanaimo Buccaneers last Wednesday and Thursday, then returned home on Saturday to defeat the Saanich Braves.
The Isles got off to a hot start against Westshore as Zack Smith, Parker Ellis and Josiah Nadon scored the first three goals, and the opening period ended with Kerry Park leading 3-1.
The Isles gave up a pair of goals in the second, but went back ahead early in the third on a goal by Ryan Paisley. A late powerplay goal by the Wolves knotted the game at 4-4, forcing overtime.
Nothing was decided by the first four-on-four overtime session, but in the second overtime, playing three-on-three, Lynden Eddy sprang Smith on a breakaway and he buried his second of the game to give his team the victory.
Chase Anderson got the start and made 30 saves on 34 shots over more than 65 minutes of action.
“That game was the catalyst for the week,” Islanders owner Mark Osmond said. “We battled hard. I haven’t seen us play a first period like that, ever. We were all over them. I’m not sure if they weren’t ready to play or what.”
The momentum from that game carried over to Thursday as the Isles headed north to Nanaimo. The Buccaneers were the top team in the north going into that game and had won three in a row, including a come-from-behind win over Kerry Park on Halloween night.
The Isles found themselves trailing 2-1 after the first period, but battled back in the second to make it 3-3, then scored two goals late in the third, including an empty-netter, to win. Eddy and Corey Peterson each had a goal and an assist, while Paisley, Smith and David Bittner also scored. Ty Rennie stopped 19 of 22 shots for the win.
“It’s nice to see what our team can do when they all play at the same tempo,” Osmond said.
Unfortunately, the Isles lost Keenan Eddy, their leading scorer at the time, to a shoulder injury he suffered in the game against Nanaimo, putting a damper on the victory.
Back home on Saturday, the Isles put a stop to another winning streak as they dealt the Saanich Braves their first loss in four contests.
The score was tied 2-2 after the first period, but the Isles dominated the rest of the game, winning 5-2.
“In the second and third, we took it to them,” Osmond said. “All the guys were working for each other.”
Lynden Eddy had a goal and two assists, while Peterson, Smith, Bittner and Ellis also found the net. Connor Bissett finished with two helpers. Rennie was back between the pipes and made 26 saves on 28 shots.
Because of injuries, the Isles were limited to just three forward lines and one spare skater against Saanich, but they were buoyed by the presence of a stag party from Victoria, who threw themselves into Kerry Park fandom, wearing — or in one case, painting themselves — Islanders blue and orange, and waving signs cheering on Kerry Park heavyweight Patrick Poets and wishing Keenan Eddy a quick recovery.
“I wish I could have those guys there all the time,” Osmond said. “They were freakin’ hilarious.”
There may be no better time than now for the Islanders to look for their first win over the Victoria Cougars since the 2012 playoffs. The Isles head to Archie Browning Arena this Thursday, and Osmond is optimistic the team can stretch their streak to four games.
“If we play like we did last week, we’ll have a good result,” he said.
On Saturday, Osmond’s team will be at home against the Comox Glacier Kings, facing off at 7:30 p.m.