Islanders defenceman Zach Blanchard absorbs a hit during the team’s game against the Victoria Cougars on Saturday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Kerry Park’s Isles complete season sweep of Comox’s Kings

The Kerry Park Islanders improved their chances of making the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs when they completed their season sweep of the Comox Valley Glacier Kings with an overtime win in Courtenay on Friday night.

Eight of the league’s nine teams make the postseason, and the eighth-place Isles further distanced themselves from the ninth-place Grizzlies with the victory.

Parker Bergstrom scored one goal and set up three others, including Riley Windsor’s winner at 3:22 of overtime.

“We’ve been working on three-on-three,” Islanders owner Carl Ollech said of the VIJHL’s overtime format. “And it worked out for us.”

The Isles were up 5-4 late in the third period, but Comox managed to get a faceoff in Kerry Park’s end, pulled their goalie, and scored with 32 seconds left to force extra time. Also scoring for the Isles were captain Logan Furkalo, Alex Villa and Rick Takeda, with a powerplay marker. Taylor Webb and Arsh Dhillon each had two assists, and Spencer Deakin made 30 saves as the Isles outshot the Glacier Kings 42-34.

The Isles used the game to experiment with different line combinations, Ollech noted.

“We’re trying to develop other players and give them a chance,” he said.

Back at Kerry Park Arena the next night, the Isles were beaten 6-0 by the Victoria Cougars. The Cougars went 4-for-9 on the powerplay as they scored one goal in the first, two in the second and three in the third. Evan Easton — who led the league in scoring when he played for the Islanders last season — and fellow Duncan product Cam LeSergent each registered one assist for the Cougars.

Deakin stopped 34 of 49 shots, while Brett Anderson earned the shutout with just 12 saves. Ollech counted more than two dozen shots by his team that missed the net altogether.

“The kids are doing better,” he said. “Don’t look at the score on Saturday. It’s not about that. If the kids had been hitting the target, that would have been a completely different game.”

The Isles visit the North Division-leading Campbell River Storm this Saturday, then play host to the Peninsula Panthers on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Ollech expressed his gratitude to everyone who helps make games happen for the Isles.

“I really thank the volunteers for all they do,” he said. “It’s like a big family affair on home game nights.”

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