It’s hard to believe that at one point early in the VIJHL season, the Kerry Park Islanders had lost 13 of 15 games. Now, winners of seven of their last 10, the Isles headed into their last game of January on a high.
The Isles had just one game last week, a Jan. 28 road game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex against the Port Alberni Bombers.
With 22 goals combined over their last three matchups, Alberni fans knew they’d be in for a barn-burner and they weren’t disappointed in that regard. The Isles threw 37 shots at Port Alberni’s goalie while Kerry Park’s Eric Young saw 39 shots on net. What did disappoint Bombers fans, though, was the final result.
Alberni scored the first three of the game, putting Kerry Park down 7:44 into the first period.
“We clearly did not start on time in this game,” admitted head coach Brian Passmore. “Our powerplay was good and got us back in the game.”
A Bombers penalty mid-period gave the Isles the space they needed to mount a comeback. It began when team scoring leader Aleko Sdrakas potted his 21st of the season from Carson Brown and Keagen Abbott with the man advantage to get Kerry Park on the board.
Later in the period, Eric Stinson scored from Bryce Burnett and Sdrakas, again on the power play, to pull the Isles within one. Then, with 89 seconds left in the first, Brown completed the comeback unassisted.
“It was great to get the game tied up at three after the first period,” Passmore said. “I’m proud of our guys for that response.”
Kerry Park kept the momentum in the second.
“We dominated the second period,” Passmore said.
A powerplay goal from Jack Strom, assisted by Kellan Bates less than minute into the second period had Kerry Park ahead by one.
The Isles’s defence held off Port Alberni for the rest of the period while Colby Robinson and Nathan Da Silva set up Eric Stinson for Kerry Park’s fifth goal and a two-goal lead.
Bryce Burnett extended the lead to 6-3 just over a minute into the third with help from Colby Robinson and Ty Nakatsu.
“We played controlled and smart in the first half of the third period, but finished the last 10 minutes of the game the way we started it, not moving our feet, watching, cheating and not playing responsible,” Passmore said.
”Overall we were great on the special teams. I felt defenceman Eric Stinson was next level for us in the game,” Passmore said. “We can learn a lesson with the win to start on time and play the full 60.”
Kerry Park next plays on Feb. 3, in Saanich.