A pair of overtime losses in the last week showed the Kerry Park Islanders and their fans how far the team has come since the start of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season.
The Isles lost both ends of a home-and-home series with the Westshore Wolves in overtime, twice earning a single point against one of the more competitive teams in the league.
“The kids played extremely well,” Islanders owner Carl Ollech said. “We lost in overtime on a bad bounce [on Saturday], but it is what it is. They played their hearts out.”
The Isles played to a 3-2 loss to the Wolves at the Q Centre last Wednesday. After a scoreless first period, the Wolves potted a pair in the second. Alex Villa answered back for Kerry Park before the middle frame was over, and Parker Bergstrom tied the score midway through the third. The Wolves notched the winner 58 seconds into overtime. Nick Haisell was strong in the Kerry Park net, stopping 31 of the 34 shots he faced.
The same teams clashed again at Kerry Park Arena on Saturday, this time with the Wolves taking a 5-4 overtime victory. The Wolves scored the only goal of the first period and were up 2-0 early in the second. Colten Thompson and Rick Takeda drew the Isles even, but the Wolves regained their lead before the second stanza was over. Dawson Elzinga made it 3-3 early in the third, the Wolves went ahead again, and Cory Mater tied the score with 14 seconds left in regulation. Again it took less than a minute to decide the result as the Wolves scored 50 seconds into the extra session. Parker Bergstrom added three assists to his team-leading point total, and Spencer Deakin stopped 30 of 35 shots.
The Isles hosted the league-leading Peninsula Panthers on Sunday and managed to keep pace until late in the third period when the Panthers pulled away for a 5-3 win. Peninsula scored in the first and early in the second before Elzinga got the Isles on the board. The Panthers responded to that, but Riley Windsor made it a one-goal game again before Mater made it 3-3 just past the thee-minute mark of the third period. The Panthers went up three minutes later, then added a late powerplay goal to ice it. Deakin finished the afternoon with 37 saves.
“We’re extremely proud,” Ollech said. “It was good hockey to watch. It would have been nice to put a W in there, but we still got one out of four on the weekend.”
Ollech believes it’s just a matter of time before his team starts making noise in the league.
“We’re gonna start putting up a lot more points,” he said. “We’ll get some upsets. They’re not going to expect us. We’re the sleeper.”
The Isles visit the Victoria Cougars this Thursday, then host the Saanich Braves on Saurday at 7:30 p.m. Three of the Isles’ four wins this season have come against the Braves.