The Campbell River Storm have been drifting back towards .500 after starting the season extremely hot, dropping two more decisions last weekend on the road.
The Storm traveled down-island to take on the Peninsula Panthers Oct. 18 at the Panorama Recreation Centre. The Panthers have been battling for top spot in the South Division for some time, and they showed the visitors exactly why that is.
Despite going up one early in the first on a goal by Keenan Toal and keeping pace with the Panthers in terms of shots on goal through the first, the visitors headed to the dressing room down 2-1 after one.
The team would fail to mount much offensive pressure in the second period, either, as only Matthew Seale for the Panthers would find the goal in the second, increasing the home team’s lead to two after two.
Tanner Wort added a fourth for the Panthers just 2:29 into the third period, but the Storm refused to give in, increasing the pressure. Desperation set in and the visitor started firing shots on goaltender Connor McKillop. In fact, the Storm got the same number of shots through on net in the third period as the first two periods combined.
And two of those shots found the twine. First, Kyle Jennings beat McKillop at 6:20 in the third, followed by Grady Franklin just over a minute later to pull the Storm within one.
When Storm goaltender Knute Loe was called to the bench late in the period to give the Storm an extra attacker, however, it was Wort who managed to secure the game with his second of the night, unassisted, on the empty Storm net to give the Panthers a 5-3 win.
The Panthers, as of the end of the weekend, have all four of the league’s top leading scorers on their squad. Riley Braun, Wort, Matthew Sparrow and Josh Lingard sit atop the league in points and are four of only five players to have more than 20 points thus far in the season.
The following night, the Storm was a bit further north taking on the Oceanside Generals. The Generals have surprised some with their early season performance, currently sitting atop the North Division and holding a somewhat comfortable lead in the standings.
And it showed on Saturday night at Oceanside Place, as the normally-offensively-gifted Storm only managed four shots on goaltender James Brendeland in the first period. Thankfully, they kept the Generals off the board, as well, during the decidedly-defensive period.
The score would remain at 0-0 until almost 15:00 into the second when Liam Moody beat Loe to give the Generals the lead.
The defensive game continued to rage through the third, with neither side solving the other until the Generals’ Elijah Goyer put another one past Loe just before he was likely to be making his way to the bench with a minute and a half left, giving the Generals a 2-0 shutout win and sending the Storm home with a 7-6 record on the year after starting the year 5-1.
The Storm will look to turn things around as they welcome the winless Comox Valley Glacier Kings to town tomorrow night at Rod Brind’Amour Arena. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.
If you’d like tickets to tomorrow’s game against the Glacier Kings, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell me whether you’d like to be entered for the 4-pack or 2-pack. I’ll draw the winner Friday morning and the winner will be contacted by email before noon.
You’ll need to pick the tickets up at our office on Dogwood across from the curling rink before 4 p.m. Friday.