Special to the Record
The Comox Valley Glacier Kings are getting better, assures head coach Bill Rotheisler. Despite losing another two games over the weekend to Peninsula and Campbell River, respectively, the Kings (0-3-1) are seeing improvement in nearly every facet.
“We’re starting to come together,” said Rotheisler prior to Saturday’s home contest. “It’s still early [in the season] and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re working hard.”
Not only do the coaches believe they have a dressing room full of potential, the players are taking notice as well.
“There are a lot of new faces in the dressing room,” said Kings’ defenceman Desmond Bast, referring to the difference in this year’s roster to last. “But we feel we can work as a team and hopefully start winning some hockey games.”
Things didn’t start out well last Friday night, when the Kings travelled to Peninsula to take on the Panthers (2-2). The Icemen found themselves in a familiar early hole, down 2-0 after one period of play.
In the second, Zack Smith made it 3-0 before Kings’ newcomer Sheldon Brett got the Glacier Kings on the board. VIJHL Player of the Week Rylan Ball scored his second of the year late in the frame, on the powerplay, to cut the deficit to one heading to the final frame.
However, in the third, Peninsula’s Brett Sjerven scored with just five minutes left, propelling the Panthers to the 4-2 victory.
Goaltender Matthew Mitchell made 26 saves, including 16 in the second period, in the loss.
The following night, the Yetis returned home for the most anticipated game of the early season as they got re-acquainted with the rival Campbell River Storm. In a game that saw a total of 29 penalties, it was an aggressive back-and-forth matchup that has become expected when these two teams meet.
It took just 1:08 for the visitors to take the lead, when Dixon Wing lit the lamp for the Storm. Later in the frame, new captain Jordan Kamprath scored his first of the year, to knot it at one after the first frame.
In the second, Mitch Ball opened the period with a perfectly executed one-timer, set up by younger brother Rylan Ball and sophomore Brook Trainor. But then Campbell River’s special teams went to work, as Mikey Markland scored on the powerplay while James Severs scored shorthanded to give the visitors the lead.
In the final frame, it was Rylan Ball (first star) scoring his second of the year to tie it and give the Icemen some momentum. However, less than a minute later, Alex Benjestorf sealed it for the Storm, squeaking the puck past Kings’ goaltender James Round, giving Campbell River the 4-3 victory.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Kings this week, as their next action comes tonight when they travel to Campbell River for a rematch against the Storm. Tomorrow night, the Yetis will host the always dangerous Victoria Cougars (4-0-0) who look to win their second consecutive league title. Puck drops for both match-ups at 7:30 p.m.