The Comox Valley Glacier Kings have definitely got the Ball rolling in their Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoff series with the Oceanside Generals.
Saturday night in Courtenay, Yeti forward Rylan Ball continued his offensive assault (12 goals in his last seven games) on the Generals, earning a hat trick to lead his team to an 8-3 victory and a stranglehold 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.
The Glacier Kings are looking to to close the series Sunday afternoon in Parksville. If necessary, game five will be Tuesday at the Comox Valley Sports Centre.
The Glacier Kings came out controlling much of the play Saturday with the exception of an odd bounce and a couple of rare missed defensive assignments but trailed 1-0 after the first despite outshooting the Generals 11-3.
The Icemen came out in the second period unfazed by the lack of puck luck and continued pressuring the Generals, determined to get back in the game. With the Yetis on the power play, Ball scored a carbon copy goal from the game before. Moments later, the Yetis were down a man, and after a successful penalty kill, forward Jack
Kennelly stepped on the ice to replace the man coming out of the box.
At the same time a botched Oceanside play sent the puck in the neutral zone behind the Oceanside defenceman to the wide open Kennelly, who made no mistake on the breakaway to give the Yetis their first lead of the game.
The teams continued their back and forth parade to the sin bin, and with the Yetis back on the power play they scored their third goal in four minutes when Wade Bartlett buried the puck from a scramble in front of the net to give the G-Kings a 3-1 lead.
The Generals cut into the deficit when forward Taylor Gray capitalized on penalty shot after he was taken down on a break-away. The Glacier Kings continued to demonstrate their resilience, with goals from Michael Scobie and Ball’s second of the night making it 5-2 after two.
The Glacier Kings started the third period with a lackluster power play and paid for it when Oceanside scored short-handed early in the frame. That was the last bit of hope the Icemen allowed the Generals.
At the 12:18 mark Scobie sent Ball in for a breakaway to give the hot-handed forward his third goal of the night. The Glacier Kings’ power play took over the rest of the way with Brandon Halls firing a beautiful short-side slap shot after a feed from Sheldon Brett.
With their next man advantage, Halls returned the favour with help from Bartlett as Brett tallied the Glacier Kings final goal of the night.
The Yetis outshot the Gens 42-23, with Michael Hails picking up the win and Alex Mastrodonato taking the loss.
Ball now has 18 goals in 15 games since moving up to forward. Ball (5g, 0a) and Michael Pond (0g, 5a) currently lead the team in points in the playoffs. Five players earned three points on Saturday night: (Halls, Ball, Pond, Bartlett and Scobie). Glacier Kings went 4-for-9 on the power play (44 per cent) and were again perfect on the penalty kill.
“It was good to see the boys overcome the traditional stigma of a game three and the continued dedication of our special teams has been outstanding,” said assistant coach Mark McNaughton.
– Comox Valley Glacier Kings