The Campbell River Storm are unbeaten after two games in newly started Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) regular season play.
Campbell River faced the neighbouring Comox Valley Glacier Kings in its first two games of the season. Campbell River won Friday night at home 8-3 before taking things on the road Saturday in its 7-5 victory.
The Storm’s Owen Christensen led the team in scoring Friday night with two goals during the season opener. Other goals came from Josh Pederson, Nolan Corrado, Ben Coghlan, Brian Majic, Kyle Jennings and Carson Small, while assists went to Christensen (2), Dylan Franklin, Small (2), Pearce Messer (2), Pederson (3), Majic, Corrado, Grady Franklin, Gabe Shipley and Ben Coghlan. The team was anchored in net by Aaron de Kok, who stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced.
Saturday night, the team kept up its pressure, beating the home Yetis 7-5. Storm goals were scored by Messer, Christensen (2), Mitchell Finner, Pederson, Riley Billy and Corrado. Assists came from Small, Franklin (2), Billy (2), Keenan Toal, Messer, Kal Nagy, Pederson, Franklin, Coghlan and Shipley.
Newcomer Carlos Siso picked up his first win with the Storm, splitting net duties with de Kok to stop 13 of the 15 shots he faced. de Kok stopped nine of 12 shots.
Many players from last year’s squad returned to play this season and settle what many called unfinished business. The season ended mid-March just as the Storm were set to start the second round of playoffs.
The Junior B team’s front office was busy in the off season, signing many new names to the team and boosting its offensive presence on the ice.
“We’re really excited about the group we have,” Head Coach and General Manager Lee Stone told the Mirror ahead of the season. “We probably have one of the more offensively talented groups that we’ve had here in a really long time.”
The start of the VIJHL regular season, which normally begins in early September, was delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Teams played in arenas devoid of fans as facilities continue to work on plans to see spectators at games.
VIJHL teams are playing in cohorts this year, with the Storm in a cohort with fellow North Division teams. The Storm is set to face the Nanaimo Buccaneers this weekend, playing in Nanaimo on Oct. 8 and in Campbell River on Oct. 9. The following weekend, they’ll face the Oceanside Generals and end the month with a rematch against the Yetis. The league has only released the playing schedule for October.
IN THE CREASE: After two games, forwards Owen Christensen and Josh Pederson lead the league in scoring. Christensen has four goals and two assists for six points, while Pederson has two goals and four assists for six points.
Goalie Aaron de Kok is eighth among the league’s goalies with a 3.91 GAA.
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