Stellar goaltending by Zachary Straza lifted the Comox Valley Glacier Kings to a 2-1 win over the Campbell River Storm on Tuesday night in Game 3 of their best-of-seven Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League semifinal playoff series.
Straza stopped 28 shots to earn first star honours and give the Yetis their first win of the series. Game 4 goes Wednesday night in Campbell River, with Game 5 also in The River City on March 13.
If needed, Game 6 goes March 14 in Courtenay (7:30 p.m. Sports Centre #1) and Game 7 March 15 in Campbell River.
Tuesday night in Courtenay, the teams battled through two scoreless periods, with the Storm outshooting the Icemen 10-1 in the first and 10-8 in the second.
The tension – and the tie – was finally broken at 16:20 of the third frame when Liam Shaw’s power-play goal gave the G-Kings the lead. Exactly two minutes later, Dylan Sampson lit the lamp to make it 2-0.
The fans had not settled back into their seats when Gage Colpron slipped the disc past Straza at 18:33 to set up a nail-biting finish.
Sampson was the game’s second star while Campbell River goalie Riley Welyk made 16 saves and was the third star. Comox Valley was 1-for-7 on the power play while the Storm were 0-for-7.
The winner of the North Division series will meet regular season champion and defending league champion Victoria Cougars in the best-of-seven playoff final.
The Capital City Cats swept the Westshore Wolves in the South Division semifinal, outscoring them 27-6 in the process. Victoria has not lost a post-season game.