By Mark Berry
For the fourth consecutive year, the Campbell River Storm will be in the VIJHL championship finals.
On Sunday, they dispatched the fourth place Westshore Wolves in a four game sweep 6-2.
Heading into the Semifinals, there was concern about how the Storm would defend against the potent offence of the Wolves. After all, Cameron Coutre was ranked No. 1 in scoring, Brandon Tutte was number three, while Tomba Huddlestan and, former Storm player, Trevor Bottomley were the top scoring VIJHL defencemen.
The Storm’s league-leading defensive corps smothered the Westshore offence at every turn keeping Coutre off the scoresheet in all four games.
On Sunday in Colwood, Dawson Frank with a nifty move to get behind the Westshore defence, outlasted Jordan Spandli and put the Storm up one at 7:08 of the first. Moments later, more local boys combined when Gold River’s Cody Savey found a seam, slipped the puck to Campbell Riverite Jalen Price who directed the puck into the back of the net.
In the second period, Campbell River dismantled the Westshore back line, outshooting the South Island side 21-7 and outscoring them 3-1. Reid Wheeldon, Darren Hards and Damon Porter were the Storm marksmen while 20-year-old Nicholas Polomark put Westshore on the board late in the period.
The two sides traded goals in the third, Keegan Durrance for the Wolves and Ryan Butler for the Black and Red.
Although not recognized as the VIJHL’s top goaltender in the regular season, Liam Murphy’s numbers this year continue to amaze. He has built on his impressive regular season league best 1.50 goals against average and .938 save percentage; after two rounds of post season play, Murphy’s GAA is just 1.25 and his save percentage is at .945. He picked up his 21st win of the season on his 21st birthday.
The Storm now await the winner of the Nanaimo Buccaneers/Saanich Braves series which won’t be decided until later in the week.