Heading in to a home contest on Saturday night, the Comox Valley Glacier Kings desperately needed a victory. Losers of a season-high five in a row, including a 6-3 loss Friday night at the hands of the Saanich Braves, the Icemen have simply been outplayed as of late. Amid the recent struggle, the Kings have been outscored 22-10, had the worst goals per game average in the division, and watched as the Oceanside Generals began to quickly close the gap on first place in the North Division of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.
What would be the key for the Kings to get back on track and right the ship? “Just getting back to what we know,” said Kings’ head coach Jordan Butcher. “We’ve been cheating a little bit, trying to get offence before we clean up our own zone and that’s been killing us.”
On Saturday night, the Kings looked to put an end to their losing streak as they returned home to take on the Kerry Park Islanders. The Yetis’ lost their first meeting against the South Division squad at the beginning of the season, but have handled them since, beating them in two straight games by a combined score of 14-2. Suffice to say, the Kings felt this was their night.
It started out well for the Yetis when Brian Rideout (on the power play) blasted a shot from the point to open the scoring. Kerry Park answered with a power-play goal of their own, knotting it at 1-1 at the end of the opening frame.
In the second, sparked by a sensational save from goaltender Cameron Large, the second best offence in the VIJHL went to work. It was the Jordan Kamprath show on display, as the Glacier Kings forward showed his scoring prowess, going top shelf on Islander goaltender Jackson Jane to retake the lead for the Kings.
Kamprath wanted more, and just 18 seconds later, Kings’ defenceman Desmond Bast (third star) sent Kamprath in all alone on the breakaway, and Kamprath buried his second of the game. Conner Morgan replied for the Islanders, making it 3-2 after two.
In the third, with the taste of victory imminent, Large did his job to ensure triumph. Making several big saves, and controlling his rebounds, the Kings’ goaltender wasn’t about to let this one slip away.
Kerry Park made it interesting when Brett Leidi solved Large to tie things up once again. However, sparked by their goaltender, it was Kamprath (first star) setting up Mitch Ball on the power play to seal the 4-3 victory for the Kings. Large made 40 saves to pick up his eighth win of the year.
After the game, soft-spoken head coach Butcher mustered only two words: “Much better.”
Friday night in Saanich, the Braves led 3-2 after one period and 5-2 after two en route to the 6-3 win. Kamprath lit the lamp twice for the Icemen and Adam Robertson added the single. Large started in goal but gave way to Jackson Winkler midway through the first after giving up three goals on four shots.
The Glacier Kings now turn their attention to Peninsula where the two teams will meet in Panther territory on Dec. 9. The following night the Yetis return home to take on the Braves, a game that can be heard at www.glacierkings.ca. Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.