Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
January 13, 2013, Parksville, BC (ISN) – Third period goals from Comox’s Andrew White and Campbell River’s Jordan Kamprath broke open a 1-1 tie and sparked the North to a surprising 4-1 win over the South in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League All-Star Classic Sunday afternoon at Oceanside Place in Parksville, BC.
With the powerful South squad featuring 10 of the top 20 scorers in the VIJHL this season, including the Victoria Cougar’s Brody Coulter and Sam Rice and the Saanich Braves Ty Jones, it could be forgiven if many in attendance at the Howie Meeker Arena thought the South would dominate this game.
Oceanside’s Michael Fretz would score on Evan Roch on this penalty shot just 44 seconds into the game to give the North a 1-0 lead in the VIJHL All-Star Game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
However, someone forgot to tell the North players this and ironically enough, it was Andrew White, a player who just a few weeks ago was in the South with the Saanich Braves before a trade sent him north to Comox, who would score the game winning goal, beating his former teammate Tanner McGaw on a breakaway with just under seven minutes remaining to give the North a 2-1 lead and send them on to the eventual win.
North goalies Cam Large of Nanaimo (left) and Kiefer Giroux of Oceanside (right) were both solid in keeping the powerful South to just a single goal in the VIJHL All-Star Classic Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The North sent a message that they were to be reckoned with early in this one, as Oceanside’s speedy Michael Fretz broke in on Victoria goaltender Evan Roch just 44 seconds into the game and was hauled down, earning a penalty shot on which he made no mistake, staking the North to an early 1-0 lead.
Kerry Parks’s Colton Burt carries the puck out of his end during the VIJHL All-Star Game Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
With a goal so early in the game, the crowd settled in for what most thought would be an entertaining, high-scoring affair, but then something strange began to happenﾅthe teams actually started to play some real hockey.
With a physicality and a close-checking intensity not often seen in an All-Star game at any level, the North would stifle the big guns on the South and with the help of some key saves from starting goaltender Cam Large of the Nanaimo Clippers, would carry that 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The South’s big guns including Saanich’s Ty Jones (left) and Victoria’s Sam Rice (right) would be stymied all day Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Large’s counterpart Roch would do the same for the South and both goalies would give way halfway through the second period to their replacements, Kiefer Giroux of Oceanside for the North and Saanich’s McGaw for the South, with the North still with the slim 1-0 lead.
The South’s Josh Adkins of the Peninsula Panther’s flies up the wing Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The change in goaltenders seemed to motivate the South a bit and they picked up their intensity in the latter half of the period and were finally able to get on the score sheet when Westshore’s Kyle Richter solved Giroux, tying the game 1-1 with just under six minutes to go, setting up what would be an entertaining third period.
The South’s Kyle Richter of the Westshore Wolves, would be the lone South goal scorer in the VIJHL All-Star game Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
With many finally expecting the South’s big guns to get going in the third, almost the exact opposite happened, with the North controlling much of the play and having the better opportunities in the early part of the period, however the 1-1 tie would continue until White snuck in behind the South defence and beat McGaw for the go-ahead goal with 6:55 to play.
Oceanside’s Michael Fretz would win MVP honours for the North (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Following that goal, the South would have two prime opportunities to tie the game, but huge saves by North netminder Giroux, the first on a sprawling glove save on Kerry Park’s Alex Milligan and the second on a breakaway by Kerry Park’s Kyle Peterson saved the game.
Comox’s Andrew White would get the game winner for the North with just under 7 minutes remaing Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
And is often the case in games like this, following the save on Peterson, the South took the puck up the ice and notched their insurance marker when Klampath beat McGaw to put the North up 3-1. They would add an empty net goal with 44 seconds remaining from Campbell River’s John Brumwell to put the final nail in the coffin and send the North home with a 4-1 win.
Kerry Park’s Kyle Peterson would have a glorious chance to tie the game late on this breakaway, but would be denied by North goaltender Kiefer Giroux (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
MVP awards for the game went to Michael Fretz of the North (although honorable mention should go out to Giroux for his two game-saving third-period saves) and to Saanich’s Josh Gray of the South.