The Kerry Park Islanders ran into trouble with a 5-0 loss on the road against the Campbell River Storm on Friday night, but bounced back the following day with a 5-1 win at home over the Saanich Braves.
Kerry Park head coach Aaron Spotts suspected the Storm would be prepared for Friday’s contest after Campbell River lost in overtime to the league-worst Comox Valley Glacier Kings the week before and would be looking for redemption.
“We knew that they would be ready to play, coming off the loss to Comox,” Spotts said.
The teams played through a scoreless opening period, but Campbell River struck twice in the first two minutes and 10 seconds of the second period, then added two more later in that frame before getting one in the third.
“We were OK in the first period,” Spotts said. “In the second, we gave up a couple of early goals… it was a tough 20 minutes for sure. In the third, we got a little bit better.”
Storm netminder Aaron de Kok made 23 saves for the shutout, while Charles-Olivier Lepage stopped 36 of 41 shots in the Kerry Park net.
Lepage was excellent again the next night, allowing one goal on 39 shots as Spotts felt the four-goal deficit flattered his club.
“It was a bit closer game than that,” the coach said. “Lepage made some key stops that let us go into the third with the lead.”
Alex Engan opened the scoring for the Isles in the first and Evan Easton scored in the second. Cole Amado made it 3-0 at 2:19 of the third, and the Braves broke up Lepage’s shutout bid 10 seconds later. Easton added his second of the game at 12:23 of the third, and Isaac Leik directed the puck past Saanich’s Connor Cheyne 12 seconds after that. Defencemen Matt Baird and Tory McClintick finished the night with two assists apiece.
Spotts planned to address his team’s vastly different play the two nights.
“Consistency will be the message going into this week’s practices,” he said.
The Isles are still dealing with a few injuries, but they should get Avery Webb back soon. A 20-year-old who played both forward and defence for the team last season, Webb has been injured since the Isles’ final exhibition game in August.
“He will really help us on offence and defence and provide a bit of leadership,” Spotts said.
With nine wins, nine losses, one overtime win and one overtime loss, the Isles sit third in the South Division and will face teams at the opposite ends of the spectrum this weekend. They visit the league-leading Victoria Cougars on Friday, then host the league-worst Comox Valley Glacier Kings Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The Isles have lost to the Cougars twice this season, by scores of 6-2 and 4-3, and haven’t played Comox, whose only points this season have come in an overtime win over Campbell River and an overtime loss to the Peninsula Panthers.
“If you look at Comox the last 10 games, they’re definitely a team that’s improving,” Spotts noted. “They probably have one of the best goalies in the league, Matthias Smith, who’s stopping 50-some shots a game. They’re definitely turning it around, even if they aren’t getting results right now.”