South Island Division Final pits Kerry Park Islanders against Victoria Cougars

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The Victoria Cougars and Kerry Park Islanders will meet for the 11th time since Victoria joined the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League 19 years ago.

Of those ten previous playoff series, the Cougars have won eight of them.

The last time these two teams met in the postseason was last year.  Victoria swept the Islanders four-games-to-none.

In fact, Kerry Park has not beaten the Cougars since March 8, 2012.

Victoria won all eight regular season meetings against the Islanders, though the second win of the season came back in October off an overtime goal by Tyler Vanuden.

Everyone knew that Victoria would prevail out of the first round but no one knew how difficult it was going to be.

The Cougars are coming off a hard-fought, six-game series win over the pesky Westshore Wolves.  In the end, Victoria may have to thank the Wolves for opening their eyes.

Injuries, however, played a significant role.  Forwards Nick Gomerich and Kyle Wade missed the entire series while defenseman Tyler Pang was sidelined for two games.

The Cougars called up Hunter Gruben, Trevor Isaksson, and Rick Takeda in response to the situation.  Isaksson, a 16-year-old defenseman who plays for the Valley West Hawks of the British Columbia Major Midget League, recorded an assist in Game 5.

Grayden Hohl, who finished third in league scoring behind Nick Guerra of the Saanich Braves and Colin Blake of the Campbell River Storm, led all scorers in the first round with five goals and six assists.

Goaltender Anthony Ciurro was brilliant against Westshore.  The overager from Peoria, Arizona won all four games he played while compiling a 1.63 goals against average and a .950 save percentage.

Kerry Park advanced to the second round of the VIJHL Playoffs for the first time since 2011-12 after shocking the heavily-favoured Braves in six games.

Placed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion in a game against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings back on February 12, goaltender Rett Rook returned to the lineup with a vengeance.

Rook is coming off back-to-back shutouts against Saanich and has not given up a goal in more than 153 minutes.

The Islanders will need Rook to produce several more star-studded performances for any hope of advancing to the VIJHL Championship Series.

Caleb Franklin, Jarret Malloch, and Josiah Nadon led Kerry Park in the first round with six points apiece.

Forward Brandon McClintick and defenseman Garnett Roberts played for the Cougars at one point in their careers.

The Islanders last won a playoff series against Victoria was back in 2001-02.

In the North Island Division Final, the Campbell River Storm squares off against the Nanaimo Buccaneers.  That best-of-7 series begin Tuesday in Campbell River.

 

GAME 1:  Thursday, March 9, 2017

Kerry Park Islanders @ Victoria Cougars

Archie Browning Sports Centre

7:00 p.m.

 

GAME 2:  Saturday, March 11, 2017

Victoria Cougars @ Kerry Park Islanders

Kerry Park Recreation Centre

7:30 p.m.

 

GAME 3:  Sunday, March 12, 2017

Kerry Park Islanders @ Victoria Cougars

Archie Browning Sports Centre

3:30 p.m.

 

GAME 4:  Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Victoria Cougars @ Kerry Park Islanders

Kerry Park Recreation Centre

7:30 p.m.

 

GAME 5 (if necessary):  Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kerry Park Islanders @ Victoria Cougars

Archie Browning Sports Centre

7:00 p.m.

 

GAME 6 (if necessary):  Saturday, March 18, 2017

Victoria Cougars @ Kerry Park Islanders

Kerry Park Recreation Centre

7:30 p.m.

 

GAME 7 (if necessary):  Sunday, March 19, 2017

Kerry Park Islanders @ Victoria Cougars

Archie Browning Sports Centre

3:30 p.m.

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