Brody Coulter and Sam Rice must have eaten their Wheaties before the game.
The pair combined for a whopping 11 points Thursday night as the Victoria Cougars rallied past the Oceanside Generals 7-2 in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League play.
It looked as though Victoria was in for a long night when Kyle Yamasaki and Connor Allison scored 41 seconds apart to give the “new look” Generals a two goal lead midway through the opening period.
But a steady flow to the penalty box would put the brakes on any chances of an Oceanside victory.
The Cougars went 3-for-9 with the man advantage.
Undisclosed injuries to Steve Axford, Trevor Chown, Ryan Parmar, Connor Stephens, and Josh Wyatt forced Victoria to play with a short bench. Despite playing with only 11 forwards and five defensemen, the Cougars did a good job of banding together in turbulent times.
Robert Zadra, who collected an assist on Victoria’s go-ahead goal, logged a lot of ice time and did an excellent job at quarterbacking the powerplay.
The win moved the first place Cougars (15-2-1) seven points up on Comox Valley. The North Island Division leading Glacier Kings host Victoria Friday at 8:00 p.m.
Yamasaki opened the scoring at 10:47 after he wired the puck off the crossbar and in. Allison then beat goalie Kiefer Giroux after taking a cross ice pass from Kolby Lim.
It remained that way until the 18:15 mark when Chris Bannister notched his third goal in four games.
Luke Tully, who took his second of five penalties, put the Cougars on the powerplay after he knocked Kyle Richter to the ice.
15 seconds later, a tic-tac-toe play between Rice and Bannister led to a Ryan Hogland goal at 10:25 of the second period.
A double minor for high-sticking to Tully and a boarding penalty to Justin Polischuk late in the frame put Victoria on a two man advantage for one minute and 25-seconds. And just as Polischuk stepped out onto the ice, Mark Walton gave the Cougars the lead with only 61 seconds remaining on the game clock.
Having been shut out in five of its last seven games during the third period, Victoria erupted for four goals.
Nathan Chen-Mack, who saw time on the first line, doubled the lead after his shot from the slot twinkled the twine at 3:40. The Cougars went ahead 5-2 only 13 seconds later when Rice beat goalie Michael Gudmandson blocker side for his fifth goal of the season.
Richter added to the lead at 6:49 with a powerplay goal. Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Keenan McConnell who had one minute and 40-seconds remaining in his slashing penalty.
Coulter, who moved into sole possession of third place in league scoring, iced the cake with a shorthanded goal at 10:57. The Victoria captain now has 36 points; one back of Jackson Garrett of Comox Valley and Cole Peterson of the Peninsula Panthers.
Oceanside (7-11-1), which released several members of its coaching staff and brought on board two new goaltenders three weeks ago, went 0-for-5 on the powerplay.
Shots on goal favoured the Cougars 35-23.
1st star, Sam Rice (Goals: 1, Assists: 4)
2nd star, Brody Coulter (Goals: 1, Assists: 5)
3rd star, Rhys Williams (Goals: 0, Assists: 0)