Islanders Test Braves In VIJHL Preseason Tuneup


Story and Images By Erich Eichhorn (ISN)

August 25, 2013, Mill Bay, BC (ISN) – Hockey season couldn’t have started any earlier as the Kerry Park Islanders started their 2013 Vancouver Island Junior “B” Hockey season with a preseason tilt against the Saanich Braves at Kerry Park Arena, in a 6-2 hard fought loss.

Finishing seventh in the regular season last year, despite having three of the top ten point-getters in the league, the Islanders are looking for some on-ice magic in 2013 to propel themselves to the upper echelons of junior league play under the renewed 3-year coaching tenure of former NHL enforcer Dale Purinton.

Kerry Park Islander Owner Mark Osmund and Coach Dale Purinton ( centre lower and upper rows ) pose with their assistant coaches – Erich Eichhorn image ( ) 

Purinton was retained through the 2015-2016 season this summer after impressing Islanders owner Mark Osmond with his effort and commitment to the organization, his players, and the community.

“Dale is an outstanding coach and we are absolutely thrilled to have him stay on with our club,” said Islanders owner Mark Osmond. “Dale is committed not only to our organization, but the community. His knowledge, passion, teaching ability and positive enthusiasm are beyond exceptional.”

Braves netminder Jason Stewart tries to corral the loose puck with an Islander on his doorstep during preseason action against the Kerry Park Islanders. Islanders would drop a 6-2 decision. – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

Islander player looks to screen the Braves goalie during preseason VIJHL action – Erich Eichhorn image ( ) 

Islanders’ owner Mark Osmond, bolstered by a bench of returning players, is looking for good things from his club this season. “Looking at our line up, not knowing what the other teams have, I think we’re going to match up very good. We probably have three good scoring lines.”

A Kerry Park Islander leans into his shot with just enough bend in his stick – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

n Islander tries to drag the puck around his forechecking opponent – Erich Eichhorn image ( ) 

The Saanich Braves, coached by Brad Cooke, wouldn’t take long to test Purinton’s Islander lines, putting the bouncing puck in the back of the net, scoring at 18:35 of the opening frame on a shot off a loose rebound in the front of the Kerry Park Islanders net minder. The Islanders would answer the bell with 5:27 remaining in the first period on a missed defensive play at the Braves blue line that would allow Islanders Peterson to skate in on the Saanich goalkeeper for the equalizer. The Islanders, perhaps showing a little too much grit, would give up a two man advantage to a speedy Braves team going into the second period, allowing the Braves to capitalize on the power play and take a 2-1 lead. The Islanders, despite the energetic play of their forwards, would find themselves chasing the Braves and the puck much of the remaining game as the Saanich squad would open up a 5-1 lead in the third period.

A Kerry Park Islander player lays out the saucer pass across ice to a fellow player – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

Braves goalie Jason Stewart stares down an Islander player with the puck – Erich Eichhorn image ( ) 

With the game all but out of reach, both teams would trade goals late in the third period to close and hand the Kerry Park Islanders a 6-2 loss in the first of two preseason games for the Shawnigan team. The Islanders play host to Westshore Sunday night before opening their regular season against Westshore on September 4th at Bear Mountain Arena.

The Islanders would have a hard time getting shots on net most of the game against the Saanich Braves. Islander player lets this puck loose as his teammates look on – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

slander forwards would find limited skating room on the ice against a fleet- of – skate Braves team – Erich Eichhorn image ( ) 

When both coaches were asked to comment on their teams preseason performances, the Braves Cook would comment, “the first and foremost positive is winning your first exhibition game with a group of players that have never really played together before. The guys out here that are unsigned really showed they want to make this team, and the guys we are committed to elevated their game and showed why we committed to them early.” The Islanders Purinton, perhaps little more philosophical, would add, “I think you always prepare to win a game, saying that… it’s all positive. There’s so much negativity on wins and losses. Right now we’re just assessing players. It’s not easy playing a young team (the Braves) with players playing full out, trying to make a spot on a team, but that’s where our veteran players need to step up. To be back on the ice… it’s fun.”

Stay tuned Monday for an exclusive interview with Ex-NHLer Dale Purinton.

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Islanders Peterson is cross checked in an over-under play effectively taking him out of the play – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

Kerry Park Islanders Owner Mark Osmund took time out of his busy schedule to pose for ISN during preseason action in Shawnigan Lake Saturday night – Erich Eichhorn image ( )

Brad Cook, head coach for the Saanich Braves poses for ISN before his preseason game against the Kerry Park Islanders – Erich Eichhorn image ( )