Islanders lose a close game in Purinton debut
Dale Purinton took over as head coach of the Kerry Park Islanders without the benefit of having his leading scorer in the lineup.
The Islanders still put in a decent showing in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action at Campbell River in a 4-3 loss Friday to the hometown Storm.
The Islanders could thank their lucky stars for the goaltending of Jackson Jane, who was spectacular with 38 saves. He held the team in a 3-3 tie until the last 1:18 when Joel Wheeldon scored the winning goal to spoil Purinton’s debut.
Kyle Peterson, who leads the Islanders with 30 points, had to watch the action from the pressbox as he served the first of a three-game suspension.
He’s not eligible to return until Dec. 29 at home against Peninsula.
After Peterson, Alex Milligan has 26 points and then it drops way off to Connor Krupa, with just 15.
The team hopes some other players will get going to propel the 2-25-2 Islanders into the win column more often.
Braeden Cross, Kyle Green and Milligan scored the Islanders’ goals in Campbell River.
The Islanders also lost the preceding night, 5-1 to the expansion Buccaneers in Nanaimo, with Purinton unavailable for that contest.
“Actually, I like it a lot,’’ said Kyle Peterson of the revived spirits since Purinton took over as coach.
“It’s going to be a lot better and start winning a few more games.’’
The Islanders started the season under new head coach Trent Brandvold before Brad Scafe took over on a temporary basis. Purinton came on board after majority owner Stew Gordon sold the team to Mark Osmond.
“They all have different methods of coaching,’’ said Peterson, 19, the most experienced player on the team with VIJHL championship status from his days at Peninsula on his resume.
“It’s pretty hard, but you get used to it.
“We’re trying a little bit harder now since we got our third coach and working harder as a team.’’
Purinton makes his home debut for the Islanders Saturday against Westshore at 7:30 p.m. at Cowichan Arena.