ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The Kerry Park Islanders proved to everyone on Sunday afternoon that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Jason Pichette stopped 34 shots in his first start of the season and Brandon Wilson scored twice as Kerry Park downed the Victoria Cougars 4-1 at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.
Prior to the start of the season, the Islanders were picked by several pundits to win their first division title since 2009/10.
Chock full of returning players, Kerry Park led 2-0 after one period and 3-0 after two.
“We had a bad start in today’s game. Not overly focused,” Cougars head coach Suneil Karod said. “Kerry Park is a good team. They’re an older team that is virtually the same team from last season. We’re young with only five returnees.”
Braydon Nelson got the Islanders (3-1-0-0) off to the best possible start by scoring the game’s opening goal 25 seconds in. From the top of the blue paint, the former Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward whacked the puck past Patrick Ostermann for his first goal of the season.
Kerry Park built on that momentum as Wilson scored a shorthanded tally at 2:27. After being hauled down from behind by William Thompson on a breakaway, Wilson regained his footing and fooled Ostermann with a backhander.
Despite some close chances from both teams, there was no scoring until the 19:48 mark of the second period. Wilson scored his second of the afternoon and his third goal of the season after banging home his own rebound with 11.8 seconds remaining.
After the play, Scott Smith received an automatic game misconduct for checking Cougars’ leading scorer Darwin Lakoduk into the end boards from behind.
Victoria (3-1-0-0) finally got on the board at 10:36 of the third period. In on the fore check, Sean Patten stripped Joe Lamoureux of the puck, wheeled out front, and slid a backhander behind Pichette.
But the comeback was short-lived.
Less than two minutes later, Kayden Peck fed a centering pass out front to Jarret Malloch who collected the puck and beat Ostermann.
“Kerry Park came out with a purpose today and we didn’t. They played as a team and we didn’t. They were the better team tonight,” Karod said.
Ostermann took the loss after allowing four goals on 42 shots.
The Cougars went 0-for-7 on the power play. Kerry Park finished 0-for-4.
Next game for Victoria is Thursday, September 21 against the Westshore Wolves. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
BAYVIEW PLACE STARS OF THE GAME:
1st star, Jason Pichette (Saves: 34, Save Percentage: .971)
2nd star, Brandon Wilson (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)
3rd star, Jarret Malloch (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)