Powell River Regals returned to on-ice action on Saturday, September 28. The local senior hockey team dropped a 5-2 decision to Vancouver Island University Mariners at Nanaimo Ice Centre.
“We had a good showing; we had 10 rookies in the lineup, all from Powell River,” said coach Tod English. “The entire roster was from here except for one player.”
Regals’ goaltender Cam Stevenson was sensational in his rookie debut, according to English, stopping 48 shots. Fellow rookie Brett Kinley, wearing the number seven his father Verne wore for the club in the 1980s and 1990s, scored both goals for the Regals, including one on a powerplay.
“The line of James Southcott, Kinley and Mikey Markland carried a lot of the play and played extremely well for being so early in the year,” said English. “And rookie defenders Michael Behan and Brett Anderson did not look out of place against a very quick university team and showed they can compete at that level.”
VIU outshot the Regals 18-11 and led 1-0 after 20 minutes.
“Cam kept us in it, then in the second an unassisted goal early in the period by Kinley gave us some energy,” said English.
Two goals 18 seconds apart gave VIU a 3-1 lead before Behan and Adam Mclaren set up Kinley’s second of the game, cutting the lead to 3-2 after 40 minutes.
VIU increased its lead to 4-2 midway through the third period after converting on a two on none breakaway before adding another insurance marker a few minutes later.
“You could see conditioning starting to play a role,” said English. “The late goal by VIU didn’t discourage our players; they pushed through and had a few chances late in the game. Overall it was a good start on the road.”
Former Powell River Kings’ forward Gavin Rauser scored the winning goal for VIU. Final shot totals were 28 for the Regals and 48 for VIU.
Regals will travel to Rossland for a pair of games on November 1 and 2, and host the Warriors in a return set of games on November 29 and 30 at Hap Parker Arena. Regals will host VIU one week later on December 7.
“These games qualify the Regals for the Coy Cup playdowns that will start in February,” says English.
The team is working on hosting Simon Fraser University in early January and also playing Williams Lake Stampeders and Quesnel Kangaroos on the road.