Team captain Donovan Griffin scored the decisive goal in the Kraken’s first-ever overtime win and road victory against the Oceanside Generals last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Team captain Donovan Griffin scored the decisive goal in the Kraken’s first-ever overtime win and road victory against the Oceanside Generals last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Lake Cowichan Kraken make history with first wins

Home win Friday followed by overtime road victory Saturday

The kraken of legend took many a pirate ship down to Davy Jones’s Locker, and the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s Lake Cowichan Kraken followed that tradition last Friday as they sank the Nanaimo Buccaneers 6-3 for the first win in franchise history.

The game was a was a back-and-forth struggle for the first couple of periods before the Kraken took control in the third and took the Buccaneers to their doom.

“I thought the boys played well enough in spurts, but they hadn’t put a full 60 minutes together,” Kraken head coach Dan Whiteford said. “That was the case on Friday: They played a full 60 and deserved to win.”

The Kraken struck first at 9:30 of the first period, but the Bucs replied 26 seconds later, then went ahead five minutes after that. Two more late in the first put the Kraken back in front, and after a scoreless second, the home team popped in another two early in the third, including Julian Rutland’s game winner. The Bucs got one back, but the Kraken added one more before the night was over.

“It was a good feeling in the room, for sure,” Whiteford said.

Kellan Brienen finished with two goals and one assist. Rutland, Rowan Zapisocki, KC Cosgrove and Lake Cowichan’s own Richard Bergman each had a goal and an assist, and Adrian Hebert had two helpers. Josh Robins made 29 saves as the Kraken outshot the Bucs 38-32.

The Kraken continued to make history on Saturday night when they picked up their first road win and first overtime victory, beating the Oceanside Generals 3-2 in Parksville.

Captain Donovan Griffin slotted the overtime winner to cap off a third-period comeback. The Kraken gave up a shorthanded goal in the first period and an even-strength goal in the second before Zapisocki and Aiden Eddy evened things up in the third.

“We came out in the first 20 like a team that had been riding the bus for two hours. We weren’t really playing like we did the night before. After the ice clean, we tried to get back to the team we were the night before.”

Robins was heroic in the first as the Kraken were outshot 16-5, but his team turned the tide, outshooting the Generals 29-18 over the first and second. Griffin’s goal came on the first and only shot of the extra period.

Back at home on Sunday, the Kraken couldn’t keep their winning streak alive as they fell 6-2 to the Campbell River Storm, who have yet to lose in regulation this season.

“Playing three in three, that’s never an easy situation to play hockey in, and you’re playing maybe the best team in the league,” Whiteford pointed out. “There was probably an intimidation factor; they had already beaten us twice.”

The Storm were up by four before Brienan got the Kraken on the board with a shorthanded goal at 5:09 of the second. Brienen also picked up an assist on Ryland Semaniuk’s powerplay goal in the third. Robins was busy once more, making 29 saves as the Storm outshot the Kraken 35-20.

“It doesn’t reflect the direction we’re going,” Whiteford said of Sunday’s game. “Given how young we are and how inexperienced a lot of the kids are in junior hockey, those games are going to happen. We try to limit them.”

The Kraken will host the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Friday, then visit the Port Alberni Bombers on Saturday and the Oceanside Generals on Sunday to start a string of six road games. Saturday’s game will be the first clash between the VIJHL’s newest clubs.

“It seems like they’re putting things together too,” Whiteford said of the Bombers. “It’s not something we’re going to look past. We need to play like we did on Friday and Saturday.”