It was a frustrating week for the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. After winning back-to-back games on Remembrance Day weekend, the North Division leading Icemen were back at it facing the South Division leading Victoria Cougars before returning home to face the Peninsula Panthers – where heartbreak ensued.
In what has turned out to be a back-and-forth rivalry between two first-place teams in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, the Kings and Cougars have created a fair amount of strife. On Thursday night, the animosity continued as the Icemen travelled to Victoria for a game in hostile territory. Coming up large for the Kings was none other than Mr. Large himself – goaltender Cameron Large.
Doing his best to keep the most potent offence in the league at bay, Large made several big stops en route to a 39-save performance. But the goaltending wasn’t the issue on this night, as the offence struggled to get going, resulting in Victoria staking out a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.
In the third period, Lee Orpen scored the lone goal for the Yetis before Mark Walton and Cougar captain Brody Coulter (scoring on an empty net) made it a 4-1 final. Despite the loss, Large was still recognized as third star of the night.
“It’s good to have him back,” said Kings’ head coach Jordan Butcher after getting his star goaltender back from a stint in Junior A. “He comes up big for us and we’re all happy he’s back.”
On Saturday night, the Kings returned home to take on the Panthers, a team they had yet to lose to this year. With Large getting the night off, backup goaltender Jackson Winkler stepped in to pick up where Large left off. Once again, goaltending wasn’t the issue.
With the offence once again struggling to find their legs in the early going, the Kings were faced with a familiar sight: down 2-0 after two periods of play. In the third, the beast finally appeared to be awoken, as the Kings’ top line scored just 50 seconds into the period. Colton Ruthvin lit the lamp, set up by Myles Powell and captain Jackson Garrett. With Peninsula pressuring late in the period, Winkler put on a show. Making several huge saves, including one monumental stop which could be defined as the best save of the year, Winkler was on his game.
Sparked by their goaltender, the Kings responded late in the frame, with Jordan Kamprath’s power-play tally with just over a minute to play knotting the count at 2-2. With the game looking like it would have to be decided in overtime, the hockey gods decided it would not be.
After a sloppy giveaway in their own zone, the Kings watched as Cole Peterson put the dagger in the hearts of the Kings and their fans, scoring with just 19 seconds to play and giving the Panthers the 3-2 victory. Winkler, who made 30 saves, was awarded the first star.
Next up for the Kings is a home match-up against the second place (North Division) Oceanside Generals on Saturday, Nov. 26. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and the game can be heard at www.glacierkings.ca.