Story by Christian J. Stewart - The Comox Valley Glacier Kings used three second period goals to skate to a 4-1 win over the Saanich Braves in Game 1 of their VIJHL playoff series in Comox on Tuesday evening.
The score disguises the fact that the Braves, buoyed by the return of Fraser Sutherland, Wade Bartlett, James Sneddon and Garrett Stankoven to the line-up, caused the Glacier Kings a great deal of concern over the first half of the game, holding them to just 5 shots in period one and 10 shots on goal through the mid-point of the second period and also holding a 1-0 lead at the 8:24 mark, when Jake Daughtry walked out of the corner and wristed one past surprise Comox starter Blake Pearson.
That lead would not hold for long however, as at the 9:04 mark, after a big save from Saanich goaltender Jason Stewart, who then looked to have covered the puck with his right pad on the post, Comox's Eric Margo stuffed it home and the game was tied 1-1.
The turning point in the game then came late in that period, when the Glacier Kings scored two quick goals to jump into a 3-1 lead. First, at 16:56, Dallas Maxwell walked out from behind the net and beat Stewart with a perfect shot to the top corner.
Just 31 seconds later, Grant Iles sped in off the right wing and went bar down on Stewart, the perfectly placed shot giving the Glacier Kings command of the game. That score held to the intermission. Shots at the break were 22-10 for Comox.
In the third, the Braves once again defensively stymied the Glacier Kings, holding them once again to just 5 shots on goal, but one of those was a tip by Maxwell of a Taylor Derynck howitzer from the point that gave the Kings some insurance with the 4-1 lead.
The Braves for their part battled hard, but could not put any of their 7 shots past Pearson and the Kings came away with the 4-1 win. Final shots on goal for the game were 27-17 for Comox.
Saanich Head Coach Brad Cook was optimistic despite the loss. "It was a solid effort by the guys. Other than the second half of the second period, we stayed with Comox the whole way. We need to play like that and stay within our structure for the full 60 minutes, have a bit more composure on our odd man chances, and get more pucks to the Comox net and we can have success against them."
Three stars as selected by Comox were Dallas Maxwell (1st), Eric Margo (2nd) and Grant Iles (3rd).
Game 2 in the series goes Thursday night at Pearks Arena in Saanich. Note it is an early start time of 6:00 PM.