They’re no longer in the driver’s seat, but the ride is not over just yet for the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
After dropping a pair of Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League games last week, the Icemen are going to need help to finish first overall on the regular season and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.
A 5-1 loss Thursday to the Islanders in Kerry Park and a 5-3 setback Saturday at home to the Victoria Cougars leaves the Yetis with 63 points and two regular season games to play.
Both the Cougars (60 points) and Peninsula Panthers (58 points) have five games remaining, and both have a chance to overtake the Icemen. The ride down the stretch drive will be interesting, to say the least.
The Glacier Kings were looking to stretch a six-game winning streak and sweep their eight-game season series from the Islanders Thursday night in Kerry Park, but were unsuccessful in both endeavours.
Without their top two scorers (Kelin Hrycuik and Stewart Lee) in the lineup, the Icemen could muster just one goal, despite outshooting the Islanders 47-36 – including a 21-4 advantage in a scoreless first period.
Kerry Park potted two in the second and were up 3-0 in the third before Corey Allen netted his 19th of the year from Jack Kennelly and Mike Allison. Cameron Waddington, back after missing a week due to concussion, took the loss in net while Tanner Milliron was the winner.
Another series sweep was on the line Saturday in Courtenay, but this time it was the Icemen looking to avoid their sixth straight loss to the Cougars in their final regular season meeting. Having snapped a four-game losing streak in their previous outing, the Capital City Cats kept things rolling with a 5-3 win.
Victoria opened a 2-0 lead by the midway point of the first before Mitch Ball’s 24th of the year on the power play from Hrycuik and Tyson Rennie got the home team on the board.
When the visitors went up 4-1 at 15:50 of the second, Waddington gave way to James Davision in the Yeti net. The only shot to elude him came midway through the third when the Cougars were skating with the man advantage.
Rennie cut the lead to three at the 14:37 mark with his 13th of the season, then Kennelly got the fans into the game with a power play marker at 18:17 (his 16th of the campaign).
However, penalties to Garrett Brandsma for hitting-to-the-head at 18:34 and Joel Wheeldon for slashing at 19:24 ended any thoughts of a late-game comeback.
The Glacier Kings outshot the Cougars 39-36 while going 2-for-8 on the power play.
The Icemen host the Saanich Braves this Friday in a 7:30 p.m. start at Sports Centre Arena No. 1. They finish off the regular season Feb. 18 at Saanich.
ICE CHIPS Hrycuik is now second in league scoring with 72 points (32g, 40a) after a seven-point weekend by Evan Campbell of the Peninsula Panthers vaulted him into top spot with 77 points (33g, 44a) … playoff fever appears to be heating up in the Comox Valley as there was a good-size crowd out for Saturday’s pivotal four-pointer with Victoria .. league standings and top scorers are in Scoreboard, page B7 … all the latest Island Jr. B buzz is at www.vijhl.com …