By Warren Andrews
September 16, 2012, Comox, BC (ISN) – Alex Benjestorf’s goal with less than 3 minutes to go in the game would be the difference in a 4-3 win for the Campbell River Storm over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings Saturday that snapped a 2 game mini-slide and propelled them back into first place in the VIJHL North division.
Having covered this team going on 11 years, I know anytime the schedule reads the Storm and Glacier Kings, it’s going to be a battle. These teams could be 20 points apart in the standings, yet for fans of both sides, there’s something special about each and every meeting.
Maybe it goes back to minor hockey, where the local Tyees often face the Chiefs in regular season, tournaments and playoffs. It’s through these countless meetings, and countless battles for North Island supremacy, that the rivalry is forged.
So maybe it is no surprise that a pair of players who grew up wearing Tyee black and orange were the ones that had the biggest impact in a big road victory.
Maybe it’s only fitting that Benji would be the hero on this night. A local kid that willed his way on to the Storm roster 3 years ago, moving up from the Midget B team determined to wear that Thunderbolt no matter what the price. A kid that overcame multiple injuries, ones that might have made a lesser player question if the pain was worth the reward of playing for his hometown team. A player that, when he’s at his best, can drive the opposition crazy with his mouth, his forecheck and his soft hands. A player that knows truly what’s at stake, that this isn’t just one of 48 regular season games. This was the Storm and Glacier Kings, one of the best rivalries in Junior hockey.
Jesse Spooner is another local player that also knew this was more than just another road game. He worked tirelessly on the blue-line as he always does, set up 3 goals and chances are, did more than the stats sheet will ever show. Rising to the occasion on this night, He earned 2nd star of the game in hostile territory.
It was an even, physical game all the way through. Dixon Wing opened the scoring in his first game of the year, scoring 1:08 in, from Tyson Rennie and Spooner. 1-0 CR. Comox would answer with just under 4 minutes remaining in the first. Kamprath tied it at 1. Shots 13 for the Kings at Curtis Bagnall, 11 for the Storm at Round.
Comox would take their only lead of the game, 6 minutes into the 2nd off a Mitch Ball goal.
The Storm responded with back-to-back special team goals in the final 6 minutes to regain the lead. First it was Mikey Markland on the powerplay from Ryan White and Alex Grupe at 14:04, then 2:19 later, James Severs short-handed from Jesse Spooner. 3-2 CR. Shots 16-5 visitors in the 2nd.
In the 3rd, Rylan Ball had the Comox faithful thinking overtime with his goal at 16:14. However, Benji would score the winner 49 seconds later and another chapter in the rivalry was written. The 3rd doled more penalties than Revenue Canada to tax evaders. Over 70 minutes to both sides. Bagnall 27 saves, picking up his 2nd win of the year. Round 28 saves in the loss. These teams renew the rivalry Friday at the Brindy.
News & notes. Markland stretched his point streak to 4 games. It was Severs 2nd short handed goal against the Kings this year, scoring one on them in preseason. The Kings along with the Kerry Park Islanders, are the last 2 teams in the VIJHL still searching for a win early in this season.