Special to the Record
The Comox Valley Glacier Kings are on a roll, running their season-best Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League winning streak to seven in a row with two big victories over the weekend. The Icemen (7-3-1) defeated the winless Kerry Park Islanders (0-8-2) at home before winning a thriller against the Oceanside Generals on the road. After a slow start to the season, the Yetis are thrilled to be seeing their hard work finally pay off.
“Things are going well,” said head coach Bill Rotheisler after the big weekend. “We’ve felt a steady improvement all year long, but are we a different team now than before? – You bet we are.”
Mitch Ball led the offence for the weekend, amassing five points in the two victories, while brother Rylan Ball, captain Jordan Kamprath and winger Michael Scobie all had three points over the two-game span. While the offence was a standout, so too was the goaltending, as both newcomer Denon Maximchuk and starter Josh Round were impressive.
Maximchuk got the start Friday at home against the Islanders, picking up his second victory in as many tries.
The Glacier Kings staked out a 3-1 first-period lead and in the second Maximchuk shut the door with 12 saves. Only a power-play goal from Kerry Park’s Alex Milligan got past the 16-year-old goaltender in the period, and the Kings’ offence took it from there.
Up 4-2 in the third period, unanswered goals from Sheldon Brett, Scobie (third star) and Jordan Crisp sealed the deal, as the Icemen skated off with a 7-3 victory.
The following night, the Kings travelled to Oceanside to take on the Generals and it was Round’s turn to shine between the pipes. In one of the most exciting games so far this year, the Yetis’ goaltender made 40 saves in a redeeming 4-3 shootout victory.
“He was huge,” said Rotheisler of his starting goaltender. “It’s one thing to have a big game, but to have a big game after losing last time out to the same team – that’s huge.”
Oceanside’s Michael Fretz got the scoring started early before Mitch Ball answered back with two goals of his own in the opening frame.
The teams traded goals in the second, as Garret Halls scored on the power play before Matthew Biagioni answered for the Generals. Fretz’s second goal of the night in the third period sent the game to overtime.
Overtime solved nothing, and in the shootout the Kings’ third shooter – Wade Bartlett – who had the victory on his stick, beating Oceanside goaltender Kiefer Giroux for the 4-3 victory.
With their lead atop the North Division standings now at a comfortable seven points, the Glacier Kings know they have to keep the pedal to the floor as they look to continue their winning ways.
The Kings played their fourth game in seven nights on Wednesday against the Westshore Rebels (results unavailable at press time). Next home action comes Saturday night as the Kings host the Peninsula Panthers (5-5-0). Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at Comox Valley Sports Centre Arena #1.