Islanders forward Dawson Elzinga is pursued by a Westshore Wolves player during Sunday’s game at Kerry Park Arena. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Islanders gear up for season finale Saturday

The Kerry Park Islanders came up just short of a victory over the Westshore Wolves on Sunday afternoon, in their second of two home games last weekend.

After a slow start, the Isles mounted a comeback that got them within a goal of the Wolves, but weren’t able to notch the tying marker and gave up an empty-netter before settling for a 4-2 loss.

“The kids played very well,” Islanders owner Carl Ollech said. “But they didn’t get a win out of it.”

Westshore was up 3-0 before Alex Villa scored on a 5-on-3 powerplay with just under four minutes left in the second period, then Kirk Whittaker made it 3-2 early in the third. The Isles pulled out all the stops to tie the score and force overtime, but the Wolves sent the puck into an empty net.

Parker Bergstrom and Riley Windsor assisted on both Kerry Park goals, and Spencer Deakin stopped 37 of 40 shots in the loss. Former Shawnigan Lake School goaltender Dalan Marleau made 26 saves in the Westshore net. It all came down to a little bit of puck luck, Ollech noted.

“We hit about 10 posts,” he said. “What else can you say? They had good bounces. That was the difference.”

On Saturday night, the Isles were beaten 6-0 by the Peninsula Panthers. Nick Haisell faced 60 shots in the Kerry Park net, turning aside 54, while Andrew Rocha made 18 saves for the shutout.

“Saturday we just want to forget,” Ollech commented.

The Isles did clinch a berth in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs when the Comox Valley Glacier Kings lost to the Saanich Braves on Saturday. Their first-round foe will be either the Oceanside Generals or Campbell River Storm, who are duking it out for first place in the North Division. That race could go down to the last game of the season on Feb. 22.

The Isles have three games left in their regular season, all this week as they visit the Victoria Cougars on Thursday and the Saanich Braves on Friday, then close out the campaign at home against the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Ollech is optimistic about the games, especially since the Isles have picked up wins against all three of those teams this season, including a 3-4 record against the Braves and a 1-2 record against the Bucs.

“If we’re firing on all cylinders, we should be able to get at least two points this weekend,” he said.

VIJHL

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