One down. Three to go
The Comox Valley Glacier Kings opened their Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League first round playoff series Tuesday night with a 4-1 win over the Oceanside Generals.
The best-of-seven series continues Wednesday night in Parksville, with game three Saturday in Courtenay with puck drop 7:30 p.m. at Sports Centre Arena #1.
Jack Kennelly returned to the lineup after a lengthy recovery from surgery and had an immediate impact, tallying twice. His first goal late in the first period stood up as the game winner.
The first period started out shaky for the Yetis as post-season excitement seemed to be a factor. The Generals capitalized at the 11:21 mark courtesy of Cam McCormick.
The Icemen equalized three minutes later when Rylan Ball rippled the mesh for his eighth goal in his last five games, and Kennelly put the G-Kings ahead to stay with six seconds left in the opening frame.
Kennelly (first star) increased the lead to 3-1 four minutes into the second with a power-play marker set up by Andrew White second star) and Nicholas Tupper (third star). Jordan Crisp beat goalie Alex Mastrodonato at 12:47 to give his team even more breathing room.
The Glacier Kings continued to dominate the Generals in the third period, outshooting them 16-2, but relief netminder Liam Giroux kept the Icemen off the scoreboard. Comox Valley outshot Oceanside 46-19 with Michael Hails picking up the win.
“This was one of the most complete efforts from all players this season, which is the obvious expectation, given the standards they hold themselves to," said Glacier Kings' head coach Bill Rotheisler. "I thought each line was disciplined and accountable for their roles and expectations set forth in order to succeed as a team," said Rotheisler, adding the team will need that same consistent effort the rest of the way.
Tuesday's result may cause Generals' head coach and GM Brent Demerais to rethink his strategy. Prior to game one, he told Parksville Qualicum News sports scribe James Clarke that the key to beating the Yetis was, "Get the puck deep and lay the body on them — take the time and space away from their D-men in their zone.
"I think we have a good shot of beating that team," said Demarias. "We need to get more shots on net with more guys going hard to the net. It's going to be good hockey. I think we have a little more depth than Comox. Play the body and finish our checks— find a way to win it."
ICE CHIPS Kerry Park Islanders beat Campbell River Storm 4-3 in overtime in the league's inaugural wild card game Sunday and meet North Division champs Nanaimo Buccaneers ... playoff schedules and results are at www.vijhl.com ... the Glacier Kings are hosting the Cyclone Taylor Cup (B.C. Jr. B championship) April 11-14, and anyone interested in volunteer opportunities or sponsorship options can contact the team's public relations director Robyn Nicholson at CVGKMedia@gmail.com ...
_ with a file from the Comox Valley Glacier Kings