Special to the Record
When two first place teams match up in a pivotal series to determine league supremacy, it can be expected that exceptional hockey will ensue. In a series that lived up to the hype, that is exactly what came to be between the Comox Valley Glacier Kings and the Victoria Cougars in a Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League home-and-away series.
After having their seven-game win streak snapped at the hands of the Saanich Braves last week, the Glacier Kings (first place in the North Division) set out to start a new streak against the tenacious Victoria Cougars (first place in the South Division).
On Thursday night, the Kings travelled to Victoria for game one of the home and home. Welcoming back rookie Myles Powell to the lineup, who missed the previous game for personal reasons, the Yetis came ready to play a physical match-up. Mitch Ball got the Kings on the board, scoring his fifth of the year before Ryan Hogland answered back for the Cougars.
Captain Jackson Garrett scored before the end of the frame to make it 2-1. In the second, the back-and-forth action continued with Hogland (third star) scoring his ninth goal of the year, before Powell (first star) made his return presence felt, scoring on a nice pass from Garrett. Trevor Chown ended the period with a goal of his own for the Cougars to tie things up heading in the third.
Showing their determination in hostile territory, the Kings scored two early goals in the final frame by Garrett Brandsma and Jed Martin to seal the 5-3 victory. It was a big win for the Glacier Kings, who handed the Cougars their first loss in regulation this season.
“We know these are important games” said Kings defenseman Desmond Bast, who is looking to return to game action next week after being sidelined with a concussion. “They mean a lot to both teams and it shows.”
At home on Saturday night, another regulation win over the Cougars would have put the Kings in first place overall in the VIJHL. In what turned out to be one of the best games played this year, in front of a packed crowd, the two teams put on a show. Rookie Michael Scobie brought the crowd to their feet with an impressive goal, using his speed to get around the Cougar defencemen and tuck the puck passed Victoria goaltender Evan Roch for the only goal of the period.
In the second, Kings goaltender Cameron Large (first star) came up with several big saves, flashing his glove several times in the process. Steve Axford was finally able to find the back of the net for the Cougars to tie it up at one before heading to the final frame.
In the third, Brody Coulter put a dagger in the hearts of the Glaicer Kings and their fans, scoring unassisted to give the Cougars their first lead in the game. It was a lead that would hold up, as a final push by the Yetis to end the game was not enough. The two teams will meet again on Remembrance Day in Comox, where the Kings will look for redemption in a game that will be sure to display hockey at its finest.
Next up for the Glacier Kings is the rival Campbell River Storm, who come to town this Saturday, Oct. 29 trying to win their first against the Yetis, who took the first two meetings with a combined score of 12-6. Puck drops for that game at 7:30 p.m. and tickets will be available at the Comox Valley Sports Centre door.