The Kerry Park Islanders may have ended their seasons-long losing streak against the Victoria Cougars earlier in this calendar year, but it’s still just as sweet for owner Mark Osmond when his team beats the perennial Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League powerhouse.
“It always feels good to beat them,” Osmond said. “Even with half a team.”
During the 2017 playoffs, the finally Isles beat the Cougars for the first time in [[XX]] years. They also defeated the Cougars in an exhibition game in August and in a regular-season game at Archie Browning in September, but Sunday’s victory was the team’s first regular-season win over Victoria at Kerry Park Arena since Jan. 29, 2011.
Prior to Sunday’s victory, the Isles played host to the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Saturday, losing 6-3 to one of the top two teams in the league. Already missing defencemen Tory McClintick and Connor Bissett, and forwards Keenan Eddy and Samson McLean, the Isles had four APs in the lineup, and then lost another blueliner, Ty Smith, to a possible broken foot against Nanaimo.
“We have so many injuries right now,” Osmond lamented. “Major ones to major players. We haven’t had our first 20, our best team, out all year.”
Duncan’s Luc Wilson, one of the top rookies in the VIJHL, opened the scoring for the Bucs with his team-leading 18th of the year. Tanner Tiel answered back for Kerry Park, but another Cowichan Valley product, Darian Harris, restored Nanaimo’s lead. The Bucs had three more in the second, with Avery Nielsen-Webb replying for the Isles. AP Isaac Leik got the Isles some hope with a goal in the third, but Nanaimo held them off, then put the game to bed with an empty-netter. Chase Anderson finished the game with 46 saves.
The Isles compiled 75 penalty minutes on the night, while the Bucs had 93. Mathieu Jallabert, Nanaimo’s leading scorer, alone had 47 penalty minutes, most coming from a third-period incident with Kerry Park agitator Will Connors, who ended up with 29 penalty minutes of his own.
The winning goal in Sunday’s victory over the Cougars, was scored by the newest Islander, Cordell Boyko. Kerry Park signed the defenceman last Tuesday after he was cut loose by the Osoyoose Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He came to the Island on Wednesday, then assisted on Leik’s goal on Saturday and turned out to be the hero on Sunday.
“He’s been a great addition so far,” Osmond said of the 19-year-old Edmonton native. “He’s got a great attitude, he likes to win, and he’s bringing a bit more fire to the dressing room.”
Victoria opened the scoring on Sunday, but Tiel made it 1-1 for the second night in a row. Connors scored in the second before Tiel potted his second of the game. The Cougars scored at 13:44 and 14:03 of the third to make it 3-3, then Boyko put his new team up for good with 4:36 left. Parker Swanson made 26 saves to earn the win.
The Isles visit Westshore on Wednesday, Victoria on Thursday and Comox on Saturday as they kick off a stretch of five road games in nine days before the Christmas break.