Special to the Record
The Comox Valley Glacier Kings opened the 2012-2013 season in disappointing fashion, losing twice to the Nanaimo Buccaneers. Under new head coach Bill Rotheisler, the Kings were unable to spoil Nanaimo’s first game in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). The league, which expanded to nine teams this offseason, added clubs in both Nanaimo and Westshore, respectively. For the Glacier Kings, the league expansion provides another hurdle to overcome in what should be a very entertaining season.
The Kings did some heavy renovations in the offseason, changing their entire coaching staff as well as losing several starters from last year’s lineup. Rotheisler, who was previously a coach for the Okanagan Hockey Academy, is joined by newcomers assistants Cam Knox and Mark McNaughton along with returnee Tony Wishart behind the bench. The new-look Glacier Kings look to improve on last year’s early playoff exit, when they lost in the first round to the Kerry Park Islanders in seven games.
In their first game of the season, the Kings travelled to the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Sept. 6 for the Bucs’ welcoming party to the VIJHL. In a storybook beginning to a franchise’s first game, Nanaimo squeezed out a 5-4 overtime victory in front of the home crowd.
The teams went back-and-forth through regulation, with newcomer Calvin Hadley getting it started for the Kings in the second period. Minutes later, Dylan Moore answered back for Nanaimo before Mitch Ball scored late in the frame.
In the third, with time ticking and his team up by one, new Kings’ goaltender Josh Round made several big saves. However, with just 39 seconds left to play, Moore (first star) scored his second of the game, knotting it at 4-4. In overtime, Quentin McShane buried the puck out front to give the Bucs the hard-fought victory.
In game two of the home-and-home, the Yetis returned to the CVRD Sports Centre on Sept. 8 looking for redemption. Once again, fans were treated to a nail-biter.
In the first period, goaltender Matthew Mitchell gave the Kings a chance to win. Showing the depth the Glacier Kings look to display this year, Mitchell turned away several big chances before Jordan Levesque lit the lamp late in the opening frame.
Sophomore Adam Robertson tallied his first of the year halfway through the second, while Mitchell made 10 saves to make it 1-1 heading to the third.
In that final frame, the Kings looked to steal the momentum when Michael Scobie scored shorthanded on a breakaway. However, the resilient Buccaneers answered right back, as Garrett Dunlop and Quentin McShane scored two unanswered goals, giving Nanaimo their second straight victory over the Kings. Mitchell made 28 saves in the 3-2 loss.
With the Glacier Kings hosting the Cyclone Taylor Cup this year, they know that they have a chance to compete for the franchise’s first league title since 1994-95. However, the new coaching staff knows there is still work to be done if the team is to challenge for the VIJHL championship.
Next game action is tonight, when the Glacier Kings head to Peninsula to take on the Panthers. Next home game is tomorrow night when the rival Campbell River Storm come to town. Puck drop for that contest will be at 7:30 at Sports Centre #1 and can be heard at www.glacierkings.ca.
ICE CHIPS Glacier Kings finding new homes in the offseason included goalie Cameron Large who is now with Nanaimo and forward Garrett Brandsma (a former all-star who was second in team scoring last year) who was shipped to Victoria in exchange for cash …