The Campbell River Storm rolled to another lopsided victory Wednesday night, shredding the hometown Saanich Braves 8-0 at George Pearkes Arena.
It was the first meeting of the season between the two teams and proved to be a night of ‘firsts’ for a number of Storm players.
Affiliate call-up Josh Coblenz scored his first junior hockey league goal in his first game, Centre Connor Logan recorded his first hat-trick of the season, and Campbell River’s new goaltender Jesse Michel got off to a great start, registering a shut-out in his first start of the season.
“It was one of our best games of the season,” said Storm head coach Lee Stone. “That rink is very difficult to play in and I thought we did an outstanding job of getting pucks deep and sustaining pressure. It was great to see Josh (Coblenz) get rewarded with his first career goal. He played absolutely fantastic right from the get-go.”
The locals opened the scoring six minutes into the contest on rookie Tyler Welsh’s eighth of the season. Braves goaltender Brandon Ward kept it 1-0 until the floodgates finally opened early in the second when the Storm scored three times in a minute and 38 seconds. Coblenz started the onslaught with a power-play marker, followed in quick succession with tallies by Gage Colpron and Michael Olson. The Storm continued to pour it on, outshooting Saanich 27-3 in the middle frame, as Olson notched his second of the contest and Logan scored twice, and then completed his hat-trick with the lone goal of the third.
Stone was pleased with the debut of his new netminder although he only faced 16 shots.
“We limited Saanich’s chances but Jesse (Michel) made some big saves when he had to and looked very solid all game,” he said.
Michel got the nod after a surprise move earlier this week when the Storm traded former starting goaltender Joey Karrer to the Nelson Leafs of the KIJHL for future considerations. Karrer had led the VIJHL with a 12-2 record. His goals against average of 2.64 was fifth best in league and he had a respectable save percentage of .906.
However, Stone felt an upgrade between the pipes was necessary.
“During my five game suspension I watched all our games from up top, and you see a lot of things up there that you don’t from the bench,” he said. “I felt goaltending was an area we needed to make a change. From Joey’s (Karrer) point of view, he wants to be a starting goalie and we couldn’t guarantee him that anymore. As it turned out, we had a change to move him to Nelson, which is a great program. I think it will turn out to be a good situation for him.”
Michel, a 6’2” native of Port Perry, Ontario, was acquired from the Ottawa Canadiens Junior ‘B’ program. The 19-year-old played in Sweden last season with Sollentuna HC.
The Storm continues a busy week of action with a home game Friday against the Nanaimo Buccaneers.
Puck drop at Rod Brind’Amour Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.
Saturday they travel to Kerry Park to take on the Islanders.