Islanders goalie Dryden DeMelo, seen here in his team’s home opener against the Saanich Predators, made 23 saves for his first VIJHL shutout in Port Alberni last Wednesday. (Citizen file)

Islanders goalie Dryden DeMelo, seen here in his team’s home opener against the Saanich Predators, made 23 saves for his first VIJHL shutout in Port Alberni last Wednesday. (Citizen file)

DeMelo backstops Kerry Park Islanders to shutout win over Bombers

Isles split weekend games against Saanich and Victoria

Dryden DeMelo made a statement in his second start in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

The 17-year-old rookie goaltender posted a 23-save shutout as the Kerry Park Islanders defeated the expansion Port Alberni Bombers 4-0 in Port Alberni last Wednesday.

“That was good for Dryden,” Kerry Park head coach Troy Newans commented. “He played strong to get that shutout and the guys played well in front of him.”

Marko Tokic, Logan Walker and Jackson Egan all scored in the first period, and Ben Northcott added one 43 seconds into the second. Egan added two assists to finish with three points on the night. Ryan Zadery gave up four goals on 18 shots before he was pulled in favour of Keelan Hondro.

On Friday, the Isles beat the Saanich Predators 4-2 at George Pearkes Arena to avenge a loss in their season opener. Egan opened the scoring, but Saanich made it 1-1 before the first period was over. Kirk Whittaker had the only goal of the second, and Reid Fitzpatrick put Kerry Park up 3-1 with a shorthanded goal early in the third. The Preds got back within one, but Whittaker capped off the scoring with his second of the game into an empty net. Eric Young made 21 saves for the win, while Andrew Palm stopped 34 of the Isles’ 37 shots.

Back at home on Saturday night, the Isles were beaten 4-2 by the Victoria Cougars. Colten Thompson’s first-period goal was sandwiched between two by Victoria’s Jackson Estey. The Cougars added two more in the second, and Tokic scored in the third. DeMelo was saddled with the loss as the Isles went 0-for-5 on the powerplay while the Cougars went 2-for-8.

“Victoria is a tough team; they always have been,” Newans said. “They came in 3-0, and we were hoping to play the spoiler. We struggled a bit on special teams, and that can definitely change the game.”

The Isles visit the Peninsula Panthers this Friday and play host to the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s too early to make an assessment on either of those two teams,” Newans said. “Peninsula is a good, strong team, and Nanaimo is in a bit of a rebuild, so they will come out hard. We will approach these like any other games.”

VIJHL