Storm rally to stay undefeated

The Campbell River Storm rallied late against Victoria last weekend to preserve its undefeated streak

The bad news is the Storm’s winning streak is over.

The good news is after a furious third period comeback on Tuesday night in Victoria, the Storm is still the only undefeated team in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

Campbell River improved its record to nine wins, no losses and one tie by scoring three times in the final 15 minutes of regulation time to salvage a 5-5 double-overtime tie with the South Division leading Westshore Wolves.

Although pleased with the comeback, Storm head coach Lee Stone was not exactly doing handstands when the game ended.

“We really have to figure out how to start games off better,” he said. “We had a great third period and are impressed we got a point out of it, but we should have never been in that situation in the first place.  At 9 and 0 we might have thought we were a little better than we really were – the reality is you have to work hard to win hockey games, especially against teams that have as much offensive firepower as they (Wolves) do.”

The teams were tied 1-1 after an evenly played first period. James Severs scored for Campbell River after a beautiful three-way passing play with linemates Connor Logan and Gavin Rauser. Dane Feeney put the Storm ahead 2-1 early in the second, converting a perfect breakaway pass by Colin Blake.

But Westshore took over at that point, thanks to a natural hat-trick by Nick Guiney and a single by Kyle Richter, who leads the league in scoring with 24 points.

Stone replaced starting goalie Joey Karrer with back-up Kyle Cheema and that seemed to spark the comeback.

“The change had nothing to do with the way Joey was playing,” said Stone. “It was more a message to everyone else – Joey’s been standing on his head for you guys so let’s help him out a little bit. Obviously we really liked the reaction to the change, for the last 15 minutes we played the way we are capable of playing.”

The rally began when Christian Brandt set up Severs for his second of the contest at 5:39 of the third, followed five minutes later by a Zack Sanderson power-play marker. The Storm pulled even with just under four minutes remaining when Blake pounced on a loose puck in the slot and fired it home.

Both teams had glorious chances during the double-overtime session but were foiled by goaltenders Cheema and the Wolves’ Riley Welyk.

The Storm is back in action tonight (Friday), facing off against the Kerry Park Islanders for the first time this season.

“Kerry Park is a team that works really hard,” says Stone. “Dale Purinton is a great coach – he played in the NHL and he’s coached in the BCHL. He gets his guys competing hard for the loose pucks so we have to be ready to go, right away in the first period.”

The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at Rod Brind’Amour Arena.