The Islanders Hockey Team returned home from the April 3-10 CARHA Hockey World Cup in Windsor, Ont. as world champions for their Gatorade 40+ age division.
After losing their first game to HC Luzern Veterans from Switzerland 9-0 on Opening Day Monday (giving up four shorthanded goals on eight penalties), the Comox Valley crew turned things around in Game 2 as they came back to defeat Muumoit from Finland 7-2 on Wednesday.
The game was tied at the end of the first period and there was no scoring in the second, with the Islanders taking only three penalties in the game. In Game 3 on Thursday the Islanders beat Italy 8-3, scoring three goals in the first period, four in the second period and one in the third while avoiding the sin bin completely.
This win put them in second place on the A side of the eight-team division (four teams on either side for round robin play), and advanced them to the semifinals against Pussikault from Finland (the first place team on the B side of the draw) on Friday.
The semifinal proved to be as exciting as their previous game – tied 1-1 after the first; no go-ahead goals in the second; and finally a power-play goal by the Islanders in the third which led to their 5-2 victory. The penalty filled game saw 18 minutes to the Islanders and 10 minutes to Finland.
The Islanders were surprised to hear that HC Luzern Veterans from Switzerland (the strongest team in the division) had lost to the Windsor Tailgators 6-5 in a shoot out. This meant the Islanders would be facing the Tailgators in the championship game on Saturday.
Of all their games, this one did not disappoint. Neither team found the back of the net in the first. In the second the Islanders took a 2-1 lead. They netted another early in the third, turned it up a notch, and lit the red light with just over 10 minutes to play to make the score 4-1.
The Tailgators tallied their second goal with just under 10 minutes to play, then pulled the goalie with under two minutes to play. Windsor cut the lead to 4-3, forcing the Islanders to step up their defensive game. Try as they did, the Tailgators were unable to find the back of the Islanders’ net, giving the championship to the Islanders.
Each player gave everything they had on every shift, making hard work and determination the game plan that resulted in the Islanders becoming world champions. This is the first time in the history of CARHA Hockey that a team from Comox Valley brought home the gold, and in the Islanders’ 15-year history, is the biggest event they have ever won.
The Islanders finished the tournament with the final standing of 5 games played, 4 wins, 1 loss, 24 goals for, 19 goals against and 30 minutes in penalties.
The Islanders thank the following business for their sponsorship: Seeco Automotive, Kal Tire, Comox Coach & Shuttle, Panago Pizza, Hartman Auto Supply, Brazen Sportswear, Hitec Printing, Engrave It, H20ps Water Services, Diveco Marine Derek Electric, Don Behan and Daryl Thompson of Investors Group Courtenay.