The Comox Valley Glacier Kings logo. (supplied by the Comox Valley Glacier Kings)
COURTENAY, B.C. – His team has won two in a row and two of its past three, and now Comox Valley Glacier Kings head coach Jordan Kamprath is using the ‘p’ word.
And while it seems astonishing for a team that’s 3-19-1-1 to even entertain the thought of playoffs, judging from the Glacier Kings’ play over the past week, maybe it’s not so far-fetched, after all.
The Glacier Kings sit 11 points back of the Oceanside Generals (7-18-1) in the four-team, Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s Northern Division.
“The closest team from us is only three-and-a-half wins away,” Kamprath stressed. “It’s not out of reach. With a three-point system it looks a little farther but realistically it’s only three-and-a-half wins away. So I don’t think the playoffs are a far stretch for us at all.”
The local junior Bs are on a mini-roll, following a 5-3 win over the visiting Peninsula Panthers Saturday at the Comox Valley Sports Centre.
The Glacier Kings led 2-0 after the first period and 4-1 after two periods, despite being outshot 30-18 through the first 40 minutes.
Glacier Kings netminder Joben Douce stopped 37 of 40 shots and played a big role in the victory.
Offensively, Finn Withey and Noah Goyer each scored twice for the Glacier Kings. Damian Rennie put the Glacier Kings ahead 3-0 with a shorthanded marker 4:16 into the second period.
Kamprath predicted before the season started that by Christmastime, the Glacier Kings would be able to skate with any team in the VIJHL.
He said the players are now starting to believe, and “are just getting their feet underneath them.”
“The confidence is definitely rising,” Kamprath said. “I knew a couple of wins would definitely do that for them.”
Kamprath said he’s been working with the players to not panic when they have the puck on their sticks in their own zone, and instead use their vision to make short, smart passes in order to get the disc to safety.
“Making them take their time in our own zone and taking the better option instead of trying to carry it against skilled teams,” he said. “It’s really helped (in) getting the puck out of our zone. It’s helped a ton. It’s been really good to teach our defencemen and our wingers to calm it down, support each other properly and help each other out in our own zone.”
Now teams will have to take a different mindset against the Glacier Kings, who were eviscerated by opposing squads earlier in the season.
Comox Valley is no longer an easy out.
Kamprath said players are up for the challenge of opponents bearing down even more against them.
“I don’t think that any of these players are going to take these wins and turn around play lighter,” he said. “They’re just going to play harder and harder because they know we can compete. We’re not the most skilled team but we will be the hardest working team and we are going to play the exact same way, whether teams come out full swing against us or if they’re going to take us lightly. Then we’re going to walk away with it (the win).”
ICE CHIPS: The team captain, Withey leads the Glacier Kings with 26 points in 20 games, and average of 1.3 points-per-game.
Withey’s point totals are more than double of the team’s second leading scorer Jordan Neufeld.
Twenty-year-old rearguard Dayton Keith has been leading the team from the back end, Kamprath noted.