Campbell River Storm forward Pearce Messer keeps applying pressure on Victoria Cougars goaltender Nate Reinhart midway through the third period. Messer had a goal and two assists on the night, earning him Home Star honours. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Storm take over first place overall after back to back wins

Win over Nanaimo Thursday, followed by a win last night at home, sees Storm two points up on Buc's

The Campbell River Storm traveled down Island last Thursday night and took down their season-long rivals, the Nanaimo Buccaneers, to move into a tie for first place overall in the VIJHL standings.

Dawson Frank opened the scoring down in Nanaimo on the power play just over half way through the first period to give the Storm a 1-0 lead.

Pearce Messer potted a second for the visitors just under a minute later, but the Buc’s would get that one back before the end of the frame, sending the teams to the dressing room at 2-1.

The only scoring in the second saw the Storm’s Jake McKenzie add to the lead. Logan Cursley would pad that lead just 22 seconds into the third and Damon Porter would put the game out of reach before the third was half done, bringing the score to 5-1.

Nanaimo would manage to get two more by Storm goaltender Liam Murray, but the Storm would easily hang on for the win, moving them into a tie – at least for now – with that same Buccaneers team for first place overall.

The Storm would then return home Friday night to take on the Victoria Cougars.

The game was a similar story from the night before, as Mitch Stapley would open the scoring on the power play in the first, Pearce Messer and Kyle Kaufmann would add to that lead in the second and Brett Kinley and Jalen Price would each add their own names to the scoresheet before Victoria’s Mateo Albinati would finally solve Murray, who carried a shutout through seven minutes into the third.

The home crowd’s disappointment over the broken shutout was short-lived, however, as it was announced the Buccanneers had been downed by Saanich, meaning a win Friday by the Storm would send them into first place overall, which they easily held on to accomplish with a 5-1 win.

The Storm’s Darren Hards added two assists on Thursday and added another Friday to remain in second place league wide in scoring with 55 points in 39 games. Dawson Frank moved into third place in overall scoring with his two points Thursday, now one point up on Westshore’s Brandon Tutte. Westshore’s Cameron Coutre continues to lead the league in scoring with 61.

Murphy added two more wins to his stat column and continues to lead the league in Goals Against Average, with a stellar 1.62, adding to an impressive .934 Save Percentage, which also leads the league.

The Storm now look to continue atop the league as they take on the struggling Comox Valley Glacier Kings in a home and home pair of games this week. They travel down to meet them on their own ice Monday, followed by a rematch at Rod Brind’Amour Arena next Friday.