The South Island Knights dropped a pair of close games to open their Senior Men’s AA hockey season, but that wasn’t as distressing as the turnouts at Fuller Lake Arena.
Very few people were there to witness an 8-5 defeat to the North Island Capitals Saturday night and even less during Sunday morning’s 6-5 setback in the rematch.
It all has Knights’ captain Jon Hollett wondering what to do about future games if the interest is so low.
“I’m leaning towards cancelling Sundays,” he said. “It’s just too much money.”
Hollett also handles the financial side of the team and the Knights won’t even be able to cover ice costs with such a small gate.
The next home series is Nov. 25-26 against Powell River and Hollett will have to decide before then whether to just play a single game or try for the doubleheader again and see if the crowd support improves.
The two games featured some great action, with the teams trading goals and the lead changing hands several times.
The teams were tied 5-5 heading into the last 10 minutes Saturday before the Capitals pulled away with two goals and added an empty-netter to seal it.
Mattias Schmitt, Cody Short, Lynden Eddy, Ben Woywitka and Cole Whitelaw accounted for the Knights’ goals.
In Sunday’s game, the teams were tied 2-2 after the first period. North Island led 4-3 after 40 minutes, but Short drew the Knights even again just 19 seconds into the third period.
North Island notched a pair of goals to take a 6-4 lead and A.J. Dzhevelekyan got one back for the Knights on the power play with only 3:29 remaining. An apparent tying goal by the Knights with 34 seconds left was disallowed when the net came off its moorings.
“That’s the way it goes sometimes,” said Hollett.
Dzhevelekyan led the Knights with two goals and other markers came from Aaron Spotts and Schmitt.
“It would have been nice to have got the win,” noted Hollett. “They were two close games.”
“It’s going to be a tough battle,” added Dzhevelekyan of comparisons between the Knights and Capitals. “They’re physical. We’re physical. It’s a pretty even match-up.”
Dzhevelekyan formerly played in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League with the Kerry Park Islanders after coming to the Island from his home in Las Vegas and still plays in the Mill Bay Rec Hockey League. He enjoyed suiting up for the Knights last season and looking forward to the series of games again.
“We’ve got some new guys from Nanaimo, some guys from Vancouver and Victoria, even Campbell River,” he pointed out. “It’s tough to get back to it right off the start. Mill Bay helps as long as you get on the ice.
“I think our talent just keeps growing. The more we keep playing, the better we’ll be.”