By Christian J. Stewart
With Files From ISN Jr. Reporter Skylar Craig
(ISN) – The first round of the VIJHL playoffs are heating up as Oceanside, Campbell River and Kerry Park all notched recent wins to stay in the thick of things in their respective series.

Oceanside and Peninsula
The Oceanside Generals staved off a sweep by the hands of the Peninsula Panthers with 7-2 and 3-1 wins Monday and Tuesday evening.
In Monday night’s game, Oceanside’s Kyle Yamasaki opened the scoring early in the first period. The goal was scored on the power play after a holding call to Panther’s captain Jake Bryan. Five minutes later, Yamasaki got another one, and Oceanside left the period with a 2-0 lead.
The second period saw the Panthers come out hard and Joe Densmore scored the Panther’s first goal 37 seconds in. Shortly after his goal, Densmore attacked Oceanside defenseman Noah Russi after Russi threw a huge cross-check on Panther’s forward David Stephens. This earned Densmore a ten minute misconduct and a five-on-four advantage for the Panthers. Oceanside came back strong and scored three more goals in the period (two of which were power play goals), all score by Oceanside captain Nick Bell.

The Panthers managed to pocket another goal in the third period, by Logan Gibson, six minutes in.Oceanside would answer this by scoring twice more in the third, the later of which with only 16 seconds left on the clock. After Oceanside’s sixth goal, Panther’s defenseman Iver Oedegaard was involved in a confrontation with three of Oceanside players, but stood his ground fairly well, even when outnumbered. Soon after this brief squabble, Logan Gibson and Oceanside’s Garrett Kemmler had an exchange that saw Gibson leave the game with a game misconduct for a hit to the head. Two minutes later, Oceanside captain Nick Bell was thrown out of the game for throwing a huge hit to the head on Panther’s player Ryan Hunter. The crowd went wild as Bellskated off the ice to the locker room. Even with a five-on-three man advantage at the end of the period, the Panthers couldn’t capitalize and Oceanside finished off the game with a 7-2 win.

In Tuesday’s win, two third period goals from Oceanside’s Riel Gibson and Jared Chin were the difference, although the game’s first start Oceanside goaltender Michael Gudmandson did his part, stopping 35 of 36 shots for the win.

Kerry Park and Comox

The Kerry Park Islanders are holding their own against the North Divison champs Comox, and with a 3-2 win over Comox Tuesday evening, have jumped into a 3-2 lead in that series. Brandon Nicholson was the hero as he scored the game winner on a third-period power-play with 8:02 left to give the Islanders the win. Game 6 in that series goes Thursday night in Kerry Park where the Islanders can complete the first round upset on home ice.

Saanich and Campbell River

After a thrilling double over-time 6-5 victory by the Braves on Sunday evening, the Storm responded Tuesday night with a 6-3 win over the Braves to notch that series up at two games each. Brett Wilsie had the big night for the Storm with two goals and an assist, while waterbug quick Dane Feeney added three assists. Both Wilsie’s goals came in a four goal second period, that saw the Storm score three goals in a five minute span to chase Saanich’s Tanner McGaw from the nets. The pivotal game five in that series goes Wednesday night at 7:30 in Saanich with game six back in Campbell River Thursday.