The peewee A T3 Kerry Park Islanders beat a powerhouse to claim gold in the Christmas Invitational hockey tournament hosted by the T1 Victoria Admirals on Dec. 20-22.
After a 4-0 loss to the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies T1 team in the first round-robin game, the peewee Islanders rebounded to win 6-3 over that same team in the tournament final.
The JDF team — which consists of the best players from south of Duncan who choose to try out for T1 — was up 2-1 after the first period, but Kerry Park came back to lead 3-2 after the second. The Islanders refused to let up and scored three more times in the third period.
Brendyn VanOene and Brandon Kendall each had two goals and one assist, Eli McKamey had one goal and one helper, and Liam Downie also scored, while Stefan Kostin earned the win in net.
After the initial defeat by JDF, the Islanders continued round-robin play by beating the host Victoria Admirals 5-4 on goals by VanOene, Downie and McKamey. Next they got by Seattle 4-3 as VanOene notched a hat trick, with Jace Bennefield assisting on all three goals, and McKamey also scored.
In first place at the end of the round robin, Kerry Park faced Seattle again in the semifinals. The Islanders built up a 5-1 lead before Seattle mounted a comeback to make it 6-4, but Kerry Park held on for an 8-5 victory. VanOene, McKamey, Kendall, Jacob Leamy and Roan Bleackley had the Islanders’ goals.
This was the second gold medal for the Kerry Park team in some of the most competitive tournaments on Vancouver Island. The Islanders also sit first in the Tier 1 league standings with seven wins and one loss.
The team is coached by Darren VanOene with assistants Jason Taron, Justin Leamy and Phil Downie, and managed by Kim Downie.