Special to the Record
After a forgetful start to the 2012-2013 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season, the Comox Valley Glacier Kings can finally put a number in the win column. In fact, that number is two, as the Yetis defeated both Campbell River and Victoria last week.
Comox Valley head coach Bill Rotheisler sees improvements from the early season woes, and likes where his team is heading. “It was a big weekend,” said Rotheisler after Saturday’s home contest. “It’s nice to start learning to be on the winning side of these games.”
The first win came Friday night, when the Glacier Kings travelled to Campbell River looking for redemption against the Storm. The week earlier, the Storm came into Courtenay and beat their rivals by one goal. This time, the Icemen returned the favour in a game filled with opportunities.
Garret Mazur got the Kings on the board early, scoring just 1:30 after the opening faceoff, before Tyson Rennie answered back with a shorthanded tally for the Storm. Brook Trainor lit the lamp before the end of the frame to make it 2-1 Kings.
In the second, the Glacier Kings came out guns ablaze, firing 24 shots on goal. Unfortunately, Storm goaltender Curtis Bagnall (second star) was on his game, turning aside every Glacier Kings’ opportunity.
Jesse Spooner had the lone goal in the period for the Storm, scoring on the power play to knot it at two heading to the final frame.
In the third, goaltending at both ends of the ice was on display, as both Bagnall and Kings’ Matthew Mitchell seemed to smell overtime. However, with just 28 seconds to play, sophomore Michael Scobie (first star) buried the puck in the net, giving the Glacier Kings the hard-fought 3-2 victory.
Mitchell had 33 saves for the Kings, while Bagnall made an astonishing 50 saves in the losing effort. “A lot of shots, and some big saves by both guys,” said Rotheisler.
The following night, the Kings returned home to face last year’s VIJHL champions – the undefeated Victoria Cougars – who featured Comox Valley minor hockey alum Michael Herringer in goal and ex-Yeti forward Garrett Brandsma.
In front of their home fans, the Glacier Kings put on a show, rallying to beat the Cougars 4-3 in a shootout. Brody Coulter had the only goal of the opening period for the Cougars. Mitchell kept the Yetis in the game early, stopping 10 first period shots.
In the second, the Glacier Kings found their legs, scoring three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead. Brook Trainor scored the first one of the frame, before Rylan Ball (shorthanded) and Desmond Bast lit the lamp.
Victoria fired back in the third as Dane Feeney scored on the power play. Up by one with time ticking, it looked as if the Glacier Kings would hold on. However, with just two seconds left to play, Ben Kinshella scored on the power play, sending the game to overtime knotted at 3-3.
OT solved nothing, and in the shootout the Kings’ fifth shooter – Wade Bartlett – finally gave the Icemen the well-deserved victory. Mitchell (third star) was solid in net once again, amassing 25 saves.
“We’re thrilled,” said Rotheisler after the big weekend. “But at the same time we have a lot of work to do, and know we have to keep getting better.”
The Glacier Kings played a rare Wednesday night game this week when they hosted the Oceanside General. Results were unavailable at press time.
Tomorrow night, the Glacier Kings head to Kerry Park to take on the winless Islanders (0-5-0-1). Check next week’s Record for complete game details.