Storm off to fast start in Keystone Cup

Campbell River squad wins twice on opening day of Western Canadian Junior B hockey championships in Alberta

Thor Rosback

A big second period — and special teams play — lifted the Campbell River Storm to a 4-2 win over the host Cold Lake Ice and a 2-0 record after the first day of the 2015 Keystone Cup  hockey tournament Thursday in Cold Lake, AB.

Earlier in the day, Gage Colpron, Connor Logan and Jordan Rauser each had a goal and an assist as the Storm opened the Western Canadian Junior B Championships with a 4-2 win over the Saskatoon Quakers.

The Storm, the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and B.C. provincial champions, improved to 18-1 in 2015 postseason play while winning their 12th straight game. They finished the opening day of the four-day, six team Keystone Cup with the early points lead.

Campbell River is bidding for its first Keystone Cup, awarded to the winner of the Western Canadian Junior B Championships, and the first such title for a VIJHL team.

The Storm resume Keystone Cup play Friday with a single game against Alberta champion North Edmonton, then wrap up round-robin action with a pair of games Saturday, against Thunder Bay of Northern Ontario and against the Selkirk, Man., Fishermen.

The top two finishers in round-robin play will meet in Sunday’s noon PDT championship final.

The six-team tourney boats representatives from Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northwest Ontario.

In other round-robin action earlier Thursday, Cold Lake and the Alberta champion North Edmonton Red Wings skated to a 2-2 draw, Thunder Bay and Selkirk, Man., also tied, 3-3, and North Edmonton edged Saskatoon 5-4.

 

Storm 4, Cold Lake 2

Trailing 1-0 midway through the second period of Thursday’s nightcap, the Storm took advantage of a four-minute major penalty to score two power-play goals a minute apart. Gage Colpron notched the tying goal off an Andy Stevens assist at 9:46 of the period, and Connor Logan converted a Trent Johnson assist at 10:46 for a 2-0 lead.

Defenseman Thor Rosback punched home what turned into the game-winner with 42 seconds remaining in the period to make it 3-1.

The Storm ran the advantage to 4-1 when Dane Feeney found the net at 9:47 of the third, with Stevens notching his third assist of the game and Colin Blake his second of the game.

Cold Lake got one back on a Chad Schultheiss score with 5:24 to play, but that was as close as the Ice would get.

The Storm enjoyed a 33-22 margin in shots on goal, all of the difference coming on their 18-7 advantage in the second period.

 

Storm 4, Saskatoon 2

Johnson snapped a 2-2 tie and netted the game-winner off a Logan assist with 4:41 left in the second period. Logan then potted the final insurance goal off Colpron’s assist with 1:09 remaining in the game.

Defenseman Jordan Rauser put Campbell River on the board first with a goal at 16:35 of the opening period, with assists to Josiah Friesen and Rosback. The teams embarked on a see-saw second period, with Saskatoon tying the game on a Vuki Mpofu goal at 4:49 and the Storm retaking the lead when Colpron converted off assists from Rauser and Dawson Frank at 7:35.

Once again, the Quakers knotted the score at 2 on a Rhett Kehoe goal at 13:23, but Campbell River needed less than two minutes to retake the lead for good on Johnson’s tally.

Campbell River finished second in the Keystone Cup in 2006, when it hosted the tourney. The Storm were also third in 1999, the only other time they qualified as the B.C. champions.