Jaxon Krupa (44) and Donovan Griffin celebrate Krupa’s opening goal against the Campbell River Storm at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena on Sunday evening. Krupa also scored the winner as the Kraken topped the Storm 3-2. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)

Jaxon Krupa (44) and Donovan Griffin celebrate Krupa’s opening goal against the Campbell River Storm at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena on Sunday evening. Krupa also scored the winner as the Kraken topped the Storm 3-2. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)

Lake Cowichan Kraken hold back the Storm

Three-game win streak has first-year team on the rise

Jaxon Krupa scored two goals, including the game-winner, and Aiden Eddy had a goal and an assist as the Lake Cowichan Kraken proved they can swim with the best by beating the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League-leading Campbell River Storm 3-2 at home on Sunday evening.

It was just the second regulation loss of the season for the Storm, who were the only North Division team the Kraken hadn’t beaten. The Storm had won all four previous meetings between the teams by a combined score of 26-6.

“It was a good game all around,” Lake Cowichan head coach Dan Whiteford said. “Obviously, it was a full 60-minute effort. I didn’t think the four games we played against them previously were an indication of what our team was. We played 60 minutes, played the systems we needed to play, and we ended up coming out with two points.”

Krupa scored a powerplay goal at 12:20 of the first period, but the Storm owned a 2-1 lead before the first intermission, going ahead on a powerplay marker of their own with just seven seconds left in the frame. Eddy scored his sixth of the year on a second-period powerplay, and Krupa notched the eventual game-winner midway through the third.

Krupa’s goals were his second and third of the season, and he now has seven points in eight games since joining the Kraken in a trade with the Kerry Park Islanders.

“He’s a heart-and-soul guy,” Whiteford said of the third-year forward. “He’s a 20-year-old and he has bought into our team and bought into a leadership role. He gives 110 per cent. It’s good to see he’s getting rewarded.”

Josh Robins stopped 43 of 45 shots in the Lake Cowichan net, while the Kraken scored their three goals on 28 shots.

Last Thursday, Captain Kraken, Donovan Griffin, scored two goals, including the overtime winner, and added an assist as the Kraken got by the Nanaimo Buccaneers 4-3. The Bucs have yet to win this season, and while no one wants to be the first team to lose to them, Whiteford insisted that wasn’t how the Kraken approached overtime.

“That wasn’t our focus going into it,” he said. “We were worried about how we can manage the game. We got away from what made us successful in the first part of the game, but we refocused enough to make sure we got it taken care of in OT.”

Griffin opened the scoring with a powerplay goal at 6:21 of the first, but the Bucs tied the score later in the period. Mitchell Billings and Rowan Zapisocki put the Kraken back in front in the first 94 seconds of the second. The Bucs got one back in the second, then scored the only goal of the third to force overtime. Griffin scored the winner at 2:15 of the extra session. Robins made 24 saves as the Kraken outshot the Bucs 34-27.

After Sunday’s game, the Kraken have won three in a row and four of their last five, and now have eight wins, 11 regulation losses and one shootout loss on the season to sit fourth in the North Division. They visited the Port Alberni Bombers on Wednesday and will play host to the Oceanside Generals this Friday at 7:30 p.m. and the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

VIJHL