The Campbell River Storm suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 double overtime loss to the Nanaimo Buccaneers the night before and they were facing the red hot Westshore Wolves missing three of their key players Friday. That sounds like excuses but instead it was opportunity.
The Storm played, arguably, their best game of the season at the Brindy, cruising to a 5-1 win over the Wolves.
With Kobe Oishi, Braeden Cyra and Joe Gage called up by the BCHL Powell River Kings, Head Coach Lee Stone said prior to the game, “this is a real opportunity for some of the younger guys to step up and show they belong in the lineup on a regular basis.”
The game didn’t start well for the Storm when Westshore struck early.
On the first shift, Jacob Malloch pounced on a loose puck in the crease, shovelling it home to take a 1-0 lead. That was the only cloud in an otherwise beautiful night, however. A strong effort for the rest of the period didn’t translate into goals but by period’s end Campbell River were getting the better chances outshooting the Wolves 12-4.
Midway through the second period, Ezra Paddock fired a blast from the point that hit teammate Brett Witala in the shoulder, the puck went straight to the league’s top scorer, Gage Colpron, who fired it under the bar. It was Campbell River’s first power play goal in almost two weeks.
The Storm would get their second power play goal a few minutes later when Witala, in the slot, would backhand the puck over Wolves’ goalie Leighton Williams on a beautiful set-up from Alex Brewer and Gage Colpron. It would be the eventual game winner.
Keenan Scardina would earn his first star honours on the third Storm goal. Skating in hard from the blue line, the 6’3” 195 pound forward picked up his own rebound and scored on a beautiful wraparound.
It would seem the Storm’s decision to switch from magnet anchors to rubber inserts paid off on the fourth marker. After winning a third period faceoff, Alex Rosolowsky directed the puck to Brewer, whose shot hit the netminder’s arm and travelled up and towards the goal line. Before the Wolves D-man was able to dislodge the net, it was in.
The best was saved for last. The Jake Carr, Rhys Colpron, Kenny Britton line had been flying all night creating opportunities and with eight minutes left in the game it would pay off. Kenny Britton would find the net for the first time this season when his blast struck pay dirt, finding the top far corner. It was set up when Rhys Colpron forced a turnover behind the net.
According to Stone, the rookie line set the tone for the game.
“That’s a line of kids who don’t get to play a lot, they went out there and created energy.”
The 5-1 win ended Westshore’s six game winning streak and keeps the Storm on top of the North Division, two points ahead of the Buccaneers.
Campbell River has its first three game weekend starting in North Saanich this coming Friday for a date with the struggling Peninsula Panthers. On Saturday, they’re in Courtenay battling the Glacier Kings. The next home game will be Sunday at 4 p.m. for the return match with the Panthers.
In other Storm news, former player and current Assistant Coach, Curtis Toneff, has been hired by the BCHL Trail Smoke Eaters. “I’m so excited for him,” Stone says of Tones, “We’re going to miss him dearly here.
“He was instrumental in our championship success last year.”