A good start doesn't always guarantee a good finish. But it sure helps.
That was the lesson learned by the Comox Valley Glacier Kings in their first two games of 2013 as they opened the second half of their Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season Jan. 3 with a 4-3 win over the Nanaimo Buccaneers and a 4-2 loss Jan. 5 to the Saanich Braves.
A solid first period against the Bucs sent the Yetis on their way to their fifth straight win, and a sluggish start against Saanich proved the difference against the Braves.
On Saturday night in Courtenay, Saanich skated to a 2-0 first period lead and the teams exchanged goals the rest of the way. "The Glacier Kings were out shot and out muscled," in the first period, the team noted in a press release.
"The Glacier Kings responded in the second, as they won battles along the boards and picked up their physical play. The Yetis out shot the Braves in the second, with several exciting scoring opportunities that had fans jumping out of their seats," the team noted.
"The intensity of play ... escalated throughout the third period (and) erupted in a fight between Cody Eliason and the Braves’ Kevin Massy. The Yetis had strong
defensive play throughout the period, however a miscue resulting in six Braves’ players on the ice (allowing) the visitors to make the score 4-1."
The Yetis continued to be inspired by the refreshed physical play and created opportunities, which included a shorthanded tally by Mitch Ball. Despite controlling the play the rest of the game, it proved too little, too late.
“The lack of effort in the first period shows how important it is to come prepared and play a full 60 minutes against any opponent,” said Comox Valley assistant coach Mark McNaughton. “A better effort
in the second and third period showed that our boys can skate with top teams.”
Wade Bartlett (second star) had the other Yetis' goal. Shots on goal were 25-21 Saanich, with Michael Hails taking the loss. Justin Polischuk (first star) led the Braves with a goal and two assists.
The Icemen rang in the new year Jan. 3 in Nanaimo with a 4-3 win over the Bucs, who they are chasing for first place in the North Division.
The Glacier Kings came out strong in the first period, out shooting Nanaimo 19-6, with Ball scoring the lone goal.
The second period saw the scoring open up as the two teams battled back and forth, each scoring two goals. The
Yetis again had the upper hand, posting 15 shots to Nanaimo's six. Bartlett and Garret Mazur each scored for the
A gritty third period proved the physical presence of the Glacier Kings had returned as Ball scored the game
“A beautiful game-winner from Mitch, it was a goal scorers' goal,” said Glacier Kings' head coach Bill Rotheisler.
The Glacier Kings killed four of five penalties and out shot the Bucs 41-22, with Hails picking up the win.
Ball earned the first star in part to his two goals. Bartlett's presence was felt on the ice through strong, smart hockey which earned him second star.
“We played a spirited game as a team. We played well defensively, and worked hard to create quality scoring opportunities," said Rotheisler.
The Glacier Kings next game is Friday when they host the best Jr. B team in B.C., the Victoria Cougars. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Sports Centre Arena #1.
On Saturday the Yetis hit the road to play the Kerry Park Islanders, who sit at the other end of the list of top Jr. B teams in B.C.