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Cowichan’s Islanders fend off South Division giants

Up next for the Isles is rematch against Peninsula at home on Dec. 13.

A tough schedule faced the Kerry Park Islanders last weekend when they faced the top two teams in the South Division on consecutive nights.

It was oh so close for the Islanders when they visited the second-ranked Peninsula Panthers Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre. The Panthers had won all three previous meetings this season, but by just one goal each time so the Isles were looking to turn the tables on the team while on the road.

Things were looking good right out of the gate after Isles captain Carson Strom scored six minutes in to give his team the early advantage. Peninsula bounced back to carry a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, however.

It was all Carson in the second period, though. Carson Brown that is. Brown scored his 17th and 18th for Kerry Park to propel the Islanders back into the lead through two periods.

As luck would have it, the Panthers scored less that a minute into the final frame and the score remained knotted at 3-3 at the final whistle.

Earning the one-goal victory was not in the cards for the Isles, however, as Kellan Bates took a boarding call in the last second of the third period, giving the Panthers nearly a full two minutes in overtime with the man advantage.

And, 1:31 into the bonus period, Peninsula converted on the powerplay opportunity and scored to secure their fourth-straight one-goal victory over Mill Bay’s favourite junior B team.

Aleko Sdrakas, Zachary Ellis-Winters, Ty Nakatsu, Nathan Da Silva, and Lukas Tokic all earned assists while goalie Eric Young got the overtime loss in goal, despite stopping 26 of 30 shots he faced.

The Isles had a chance to bounce back on Saturday on home ice against the division-leading Victoria Cougars.

Headed into play, the Cougars had won five in a row. When the dust had settled their streak had ended and the young Islanders had a feather in their caps.

The Cougars, first in the South Division, held an impressive 20-6 record heading into the contest, with more than twice as many wins as the Islanders. They’d also defeated the Isles in all five previous matchups this season.

None of that mattered once the puck was dropped, though, as Carson Brown fired in his 19th of the season on the power play, with a little help from Ethan Taylor and Bates less than six minutes into the game.

Victoria tied it up on a power play of their own to wind up the first period. The Cougars even went ahead for a minute in the second period, until Kerry Park’s Bryce Burnett converted a passing play from Colby Robinson and Jack Strom to earn his first goal of the year and tie it at 2-2.

Once again Victoria countered.

Late in the second, however, recent acquisition Noah Hovde, who came to the Islanders from the Cougars on Nov. 26, got his first of the year, from Sdrakas and Carson Strom, with just 1:10 remaining in the period, knotting it up at three heading into the final frame.

No goals were scored in the third but nine penalties were handed out instead.

In overtime Burnett took a Da Silva pass and buried it into the back of the net to win the game and defeat the giants, rather, the Cougars.

Young faced 35 shots, stopping 32 for the win.

Up next for the Isles is rematch against Peninsula at home on Dec. 13. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.