The Campbell River Storm were not about to let go a playoff series that they had their eyes on all season, the final series of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League post-season. They finished first overall during the regular season and were fully expecting to win the Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy.
Their league-final opponent, the Saanich Braves, finished third overall and first in the South Division – a tight division of five teams; any of which could have won the regular season with a few puck bounces going the other way.
During the final series, the Braves won game 1 in Campbell River’s Rod Brind’Amour Arena, nicknamed “The Brindy”; a rare feat for any team.
The Braves also won game five in the Brindy to go ahead three games to two.
Game six, with all on the line at Pearkes Arena in Saanich, the Storm took control and forced a game 7 back at the Brindy, winning by the score of 4-0.
If Braves goaltender Tyler Mathieson is not having his usual high-level game, the Braves are going to find it tough to beat the Storm as they have outshot the Braves in all six games by the whopping margin of 302-194.
The 6’3” 21-year-old, Port Hardy native, perhaps deserved to have played somewhere in Junior A or Major Junior this season.
Game 1 (3 OT): 71-48,
Game 2: 42-19,
Game 3: 51-39
Game four: 41-32
Game five: 51-28
Game six: 46-28
Friday, the Storm threw 46 at Mathieson, he stopped all but four.
At 10:38 of the first, West Vancouver 18-year-old Kyle Kaufman opened the scoring, Darren Hards and Dawson Frank earned assists on the play. The period ended 1-0, despite the Braves being outshot 17-8.
Frank scored at 14:18 of the second period to put the visitors up 2-0. Aiden Sutherland and Davis Frank assisted on the goal – the only one of the second period.
Brett Kinley put the Storm up 3-0 at 7:49 of the third from Damon Porter. Davis Frank put the game away at 13:37 with an unassisted marker.
Storm goaltender had his own high-level game, taking the win with a 28-shot shutout.
Both powerplays went 0/5 on the night.
Game 7 takes place tonight at 5:00 pm in Campbell River.
The winner takes the league and moves onto the Cyclone Taylor Cup. During the past four years, four medals have been won by island teams. The Storm won gold in 2015, bronze in 2016 and silver in 2017. The Victoria Cougars won silver in 2016.
The Richmond Sockeyes will be hosting the 2018 Cyclone Taylor Cup in early April. Richmond’s entry was selected from bids submitted by PJHL teams.
The Cyclone Taylor Cup is BC’s Junior B championship, which pits champions from the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL), and Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) as well as the host team in the provincial tournament.