Armed with five affiliate players from the Campbell River Tyees and the North Island Silvertips, the Campbell River Storm defended home ice against the Oceanside Generals Friday night.
The Storm won 4-3 in overtime at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena in the first of two wins over the weekend. They continued their win streak on the road Saturday night against the Kerry Park Islanders with a 7-2 victory and are now riding a season-high three-game win streak.
Storm Head Coach Lee Stone said the team is starting to pick up momentum.
“We haven’t really been able to string that momentum together for a variety of reasons,” he said. “It’s amazing those wins give you all sorts of confidence and once you get that confidence, it’s kind of like that snowball. When you roll a snowball down a hill, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger and I think that’s what we’re slowly starting to see.”
Campbell River has been without a full bench for over three weeks. The team has been plagued by injuries. They’re currently without seven of their usual players, all out for varying periods of time. But some players are starting to return. Stone said two defencemen returned to the line-up last week and he’s hoping another two forwards will be ready to go this week.
“So our list from nine is down to seven and hopefully after this weekend, it’ll be down to five,” he said. “As we continue to get our injured guys back healthy, it’s hard to even put into words how much a of a difference it makes for our group.”
Friday night’s full roster was thanks to a handful of affiliate players including the Campbell River Tyees’ Lucas Draper and Logan Chapdelaine. Brady van Herk and Tynan Klein-Beekman also suited up as APs for the game. Sam Pouliot, who is listed as a regular card, but plays more as an AP for the team while he attends UVic for engineering, also skated.
Stone was quick to thank the players and their teams for their presence on the ice and the bench Friday night.
“It makes all the difference in the world when you can have a full bench,” he said.
Friday night’s game was a chippy affair with fast skating from both sides.
Oceanside drew first blood, scoring a powerplay goal at 10:25 into the first frame as Kyle Jennings and Tynan Peacock sat in the box for cross-checking and tripping respectively.
Campbell River tied it up 9:55 in the second period when Keenan Toal launched the puck past Oceanside goalie James Brendeland’s left hand into the top corner of the net.
The Storm got the go-ahead goal less than five minutes later when a slow-motion shot hovered just in front of the goal line before getting pushed across the threshold by Brendan Murray.
Before the end of the period, Oceanside tied things up 2-2 heading into the third.
On another powerplay, the Generals got the go-ahead goal at 5:18 to pull ahead 3-2.
They held onto the lead for much of the third until Josh Pederson found the back of the net off a pass from Cody Savey and Jennings to tie the game 3-3 and force overtime.
Seven minutes of three-on-three overtime hockey couldn’t decide the game, so it went to a shootout.
Liam Moody shot first for Oceanside and Storm goalie Aaron de Kok stood strong. Savey was first for the Storm, finding the net to put Campbell River ahead in the shootout.
Landon Dziadyk shot next for Oceanside but couldn’t solve de Kok either.
Pederson shot next for the Storm, but was unable to beat Brendeland.
When de Kok stopped Dawson Heathcote’s shot with his right foot pad, the game was decided. de Kok stood and lunged to the ice in celebration as the bench flooded the ice.
Stone said the two teams have been close this season and the win was a confidence-booster for the boys.
“I think for us the big thing was just the confidence of getting those two points against them and knowing we can do it,” said Stone. “I mean they’re a real good team, but I think we’re still missing some bodies so for the guys that are in the line-up to see that we can do it without some key guys, just goes to show how dangerous we can be when we’re healthy.”
Saturday night, the team travelled down to Kerry Park to face the Islanders.
Stone thought the team was slow to start with just two goals over 20 minutes.
“I didn’t think we had our greatest period if I’m being honest and I kind of challenged that guys in the room in the first intermission. We gave up 14 shots in the first period and I just stressed how important it is for us to play defensively and the rest of the game we gave up 13,” said Stone, “So I was really proud of our group with how they were able to kind of skate through that shaky first period and really dial it in to the second and third and obviously we were able to walk away with a pretty decisive 7-2 victory, which was again huge for that confidence moving forward.”
Storm Bowling and a Salute to the fans last night at the Brindy…. pic.twitter.com/L65UK5UH5K
— Campbell River Storm (@CR_STORM) November 30, 2019
The Storm have just five games left before their holiday break.
They’ll face Nanaimo on the road Thursday before hosting the Comox Valley Glacier Kings Friday, Dec. 6 for the annual Teddy Bear Toss game. Then there’s one more game against Nanaimo, one at Saanich and one more against Peninsula on Dec. 20 before the break. The Storm return against Oceanside on Jan. 3.
Stone said he wants the team to continue to build their momentum.
“We talk to the boys about how you’re never staying put. You’re either going up or you’re going down. I think in the game of hockey, there’s no such thing as just status quo,” he said. “I think if we continue to focus on doing those little things, that obviously that success will continue to build for us.”
The Teddy Bear Toss game is 4 days away! This is a game that fans and players get up for every year. In the past 6 years, the Storm boys have outscored their opponents 52-5. Be there Friday at the Brindy with a plush toy and cheer them on. pic.twitter.com/VmxX224hid
— Campbell River Storm (@CR_STORM) December 2, 2019