There’s a memorable scene in the 1990 blockbuster hit Kindergarten Cop where detective John Kimble (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) gather’s his students to tell a tale of a warrior crafting the galaxy’s greatest army. In the midst of the story Kimble, frustrated with the students, remarks: “You kids are soft! You lack discipline!” Perhaps the Comox Valley Glacier Kings should have watched that scene before game time Saturday night.
In a well-documented struggle to find consistency, the Icemen have yet to win back-to-back games since Nov. 12. On Saturday night, playing against the best team in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, the Kings had a chance to reverse their fortunes. A win would spell a return to form for the Yetis, as well as a split in the season series against the Victoria Cougars – something no other team in the league has done. So how do you beat the best offensive team in the league?
“We got to play a full 60 minutes,” said head coach Jordan Butcher. “When we play hard for the whole game, we’re a great team and we can compete with these guys. When we don’t, we get beat. It’s that simple.” In hindsight, self-control would have helped, too.
Playing in their final meeting of the regular season, the Glacier Kings had a chance to send a message to the Cougars heading into the playoffs. However, discipline proved to be the problem for the Kings, who by the end of the evening had amassed an absurd total of 71 minutes of penalty time, a game misconduct and, inevitably, a 5-2 loss. Four Glacier Kings were handed double-digit PIMs.
There was some scoring in the game however, as Conner Stephens was the first to tally for the Cougars on the power play before Kings’ newcomer Derek Nicholson scored his first of the year. The teams then traded goals again, with Graham Zagrodney scoring on the power play for the visiting Cougars and Mitch Ball answering back with a great individual effort. Chris Bannister rippled the mesh to make it 3-2 Cougars after one period of play.
In the second, Cougar captain Brody Coulter netted his 27th goal of the year for the only goal of the period. It was 4-2 at the time, and the Glacier Kings were still very much in the game. Then the wheels fell off in the third.
There were five penalties called in the opening five minutes of the third period, four to Kings’ players. Ten minutes later, five more penalties were called on the Yetis, including a fighting and game misconduct to grinder/agitator Kasey Ruel.
Stephens scored one more time on the power play for the Cougars, their third goal with a man advantage, giving the Capital City Cats the 5-2 victory.
With the loss, the Glacier Kings now have to defend their first place (North Division) standings with just seven regular season games remaining. The Oceanside Generals are just five points back and the Saanich Braves, who the Kings visit on Friday, are only three points back in the overall standings.
Next home game for the Kings is not until Friday, Feb. 3 in a pivotal matchup with the Generals. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at Sports Centre Arena No. 1 and the game can be heard at www.glacierkings.ca.