The Campbell River Storm have sole possession of first place in the north division helped out by a strong break out performance by the hockey club’s newest acquisition.
The Storm’s Joe Costello was a dominant force from the moment he stepped on the ice until the final buzzer during Friday’s game against the Nanaimo Buccaneers at Rod Brind’Amour Arena.
The Storm were looking to take down the Buccaneers, which were two points ahead of the Storm going into the game and in first place in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s north division.
It was clear the Storm knew what was at stake as Costello scored to put the Storm on the scoreboard just four minutes into the game to notch his first marker as a member of the Storm.
Trent Johnson scored again for the Storm just one minute later. A goal by the Storm’s Gavin Rauser seven minutes after that prompted Nanaimo to pull goalie Ryan Waldhaus in favour of back up Michael Herringer who didn’t fare much better.
The Storm was relentless, scoring four more goals and peppering the Nanaimo goalies with a combined 58 shots to Nanaimo’s 32.
Scoring for the final four goals for the Storm were Jamie Severs with two, Dom Kolbeins, and Costello with his second.
While the Storm were shut out in the third period, Nanaimo managed to break the goose egg with a goal by Buccaneer Riel Gibson, with just under eight minutes left to go in the game.
With the 7-1 victory, the Storm were tied with Nanaimo at 40 points apiece going into Saturday night’s action.
The Storm continued its winning ways, securing a 5-2 win over the Oceanside Generals on the road.
Oceanside opened the scoring but the Storm came to life in the second with goals from Tyler Welsh, Brayden Taekema and Gage Colpron to take a 3-1 lead.
Oceanside narrowed the gap on a powerplay, late into the third, on a goal by Travis Flug and with minutes left in the game pulled its goalie to try and even the score. The Storm, however, dashed Oceanside’s hopes with two goals into the empty net, scored by Alex Brewer and Gage Colpron.
The Storm got a little help from the Comox Valley Glacier Kings that same night, with the Glacier Kings beating Nanaimo to propel the Storm into first place in the north with 42 points, two up on Nanaimo with one game in hand on the Buccaneers.
Prior to the weekend games, the Storm were also on the road to face the league-leading Victoria Cougars and lost 2-1 with the Storm’s lone goal coming from Josiah Friesen.
The Storm take on the Buccaneers in a re-match on Thursday in Nanaimo and are back in Campbell River Friday night to face Oceanside at 7:30 p.m.