Special to the Record
The start of September signifies the end of summer and a return to the customary grind of our daily lives. For sports fans, however, September means one thing – hockey is back.
Such was the case Saturday night at the Comox Valley Sports Centre as the Comox Valley Glacier Kings hosted the Peninsula Panthers in the home opener of their 2011/2012 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season.
It was the second game in as many nights for the two teams, as they wrapped up a home-and-home with the Glacier Kings prevailing 3-1. The first game Friday night in Peninsula was a 5-2 Comox Valley win, giving the Yetis a weekend sweep against the two-time defending league champions.
“Excited,” said new Glacier Kings head coach and former player Jordan Butcher about his first home-opener. “Really, really excited.”
In game one Friday, Peninsula scored two quick goals in the first period to make it 2-0 after the first 20 minutes. However in the second, Comox Valley came out strong and by the sound of the buzzer to end the game, had scored five unanswered goals to win 5-2.
Jackson Garrett led the Yetis with two goals while Myles Powell, Rylan Ball and Jayson Cannell netted one each.
In their home opener Saturday, stellar goaltending was on display at both ends of the ice, as Panthers’ Nick Babich (second star of the game) and Kings’ Ben Tarnowski (first star of the game) showed that the best offence is a good defence.
In the first period, Babich made an especially stellar save on a penalty shot awarded to Glacier King veteran Garrett after he was taken down on a breakaway chance. Garrett looked to have Babich beat, going to his forehand after several nifty dekes, but Babich used every inch of his reach to stop the puck with his glove hand just before the goal line.
However, persistence paid off for Garrett (third star) as he scored the first goal of the game at 16:41 of the second period. Jordan Crisp scored late in the second to make it 2-0, receiving a perfect pass from Ben Meadows, who finished with two assists.
In the third, Peninsula (with only 12 players on their roster to begin the season) came out strong and answered back with a goal by Cole Peterson on the power play. However, it wasn’t enough as the Kings sealed the victory with an empty net goal by Spencer Carlson with just 15 seconds to play. Shots in the game were 36 to 32 in favour of the Kings.
The Icemen return to action this weekend. On Friday, Sept. they host Kerry Park Islanders in a 7:30 p.m. start at Sports Centre Arena No. 1. On Saturday they are in Parksville to play the Oceanside Generals.