After a blazing hot start to the regular season, the Campbell River Storm have come down to Earth.
The Storm opened the season going 3-0, outscoring their opponents 18-4, but over the five games since, the team has gone 2-3 with a much closer scoring differential.
Granted, that opening stretch is somewhat skewed by the team’s season opener against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings – a 12-1 walloping here at home – and it’s far too early in the season to tell how the team’s year will fare overall.
Last week, Campbell River traveled down Island to take on its Northern Division rivals for the past few seasons, the Nanaimo Buccaneers before returning home the following night to welcome the Westshore Wolves.
Thursday’s game in Nanaimo was essentially a goaltending battle, as Storm goaltender Knute Loe and Buc’s goaltender Austin Dendl stood tall between their respective pipes.
Quinn Messer managed to beat Dendl in the first to put the Storm up by one early, but that was the only shot of 17 that Dendl faced in the frame that made it past.
Max Lozeman solved Loe in the second period to pull the Buccaneers back into a tie, but after two periods of play, with both teams having over 30 shots on net already, it was clear who the stars of this particular game were.
Fittingly, both goaltenders turned away all of the opposition’s chances in the third period, sending the game to overtime, which couldn’t solve anything, either.
Unfortunately for the Storm, the shootout saw both Dylan Devers and Ben Coghlan score for the Buccaneers while Dendl turned away Brian Majic and Jackson Dyke to give the Buc’s the win.
In the end, Loe stopped 42 of the 43 shots he faced, while Dendl turned aside 46 of 47 Storm chances and each were named their team’s star of the game.
The next night, the Storm was back at the Brindy looking for a different result. And although they were much better at keeping Loe from being peppered with shots, the Wolves made good on the few chances they were given.
It took until the second period, however, when Caleb Parkhouse found himself uncovered on the powerplay with a loose puck beside a wide open net after a scramble in front of Loe. Benjamin Duffin added a second Westshore goal after breaking free of the defenders with under a minute left in the frame and firing a lightening quick wrist shot over Loe’s glove into the top shelf to give the visitors a two-goal lead heading to the dressing room.
Cody Savey got the Storm back to within one when Loe made his way to the bench for the extra attacker late in the game, but the Wolves held on for the one-goal win.
Dalan Marleau took his team’s star honours on the day with his 35-save performance, and Savey took the star for the home team.
The Storm’s next action is Friday, Oct. 4 as they welcome the winless Kerry Park Islanders to town before heading down-Island next Sunday for a game against the Victoria Cougars.
Puck drop for Friday’s game is 7:30.