Cougars Stand Strong Against Islanders

104

Peter Kung

The Victoria Cougars went from desperation to jubilation in a matter of seconds.

At the same time, the Kerry Park Islanders went from jubilation to disheartenment.

With goalie Bryce Halverson pulled for an extra attacker, Brody Coulter tied the game at 4-4 after he tipped home a Steve Axford point shot with nine seconds remaining in regulation.

Then 56 seconds into overtime, Josh Wyatt sped up the right side, cut around defenseman Josh Garneau, and slid the puck under Jackson Jane for the game winner.

Wyatt, who was named the game’s first star, also picked up an assist on Coulter’s league leading 24th goal.

Victoria trailed 1-0 after one period and 2-1 after two.

Acquired a couple of days ago from the Strathmore Wheatland Kings of the Heritage League; Halverson made his much anticipated debut. At a whopping six-foot-three, the 18-year-old Albertan made several unbelievable saves to keep the game from getting out of reach.

The Cougars (22-5-1) played catch up all night until Wyatt’s heroics.

It was all Victoria in the early going as the Islanders did not register their first shot on goal until the 9:23 mark of the first period.

Robert Zadra, who was involved in a spirited second period fight with Adam Wade, was denied his third goal of the season after he rang the puck off the goal post with six minutes remaining in the opening frame.

Two minutes later, however, Chase Jackson-Puff had his point shot bounce off teammate Eric Mansueti to give Kerry Park a 1-0 lead.

The Cougars started the second period with a 62 second powerplay. Axford thought he had scored when his point shot bounced off Jane before landing in the net. After pleading his case to the referee as to why his goal was disallowed, Axford was unable to change Mike Christians’ mind.

A turnover by a Victoria defender resulted in Wade giving the visitors a two goal lead at 12:58.

Then 28 seconds later, Zadra and Wade went toe-to-toe with the Cougars rookie defenseman scoring a decisive decision.

Axford pulled the Cougars to within one at 14:01.

Kerry Park (11-15-2) took a 3-1 lead at 7:24 of the third period after Cole Thomson teamed up with Trevor Yee for his first of two goals.

Just over two minutes later, Ryan Chan made it another one goal game. Parked in front of Jane, Chan pounced all over a Jake Stolz rebound and deposited the biscuit into a wide open cage for his third goal of the season.

At 12:47, Walton tied the game only to have the Islanders take the lead 18 seconds later on Thomson’s second goal.

Then in a span of 65 seconds, Victoria would snatch a win from its divisional rival.

The Cougars outshot Kerry Park 37-29 which included 2-0 in overtime.

Next game for Victoria is Friday, December 16 against the Saanich Braves. Game time at the George R. Pearkes Recreation Centre, located at 3100 Tillicum Road, is 6:30 p.m.

THREE STARS:

1st star, Josh Wyatt (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)

2nd star, Cole Thomson (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)

3rd star, Jake Stolz (Goals: 0, Assists: 1)

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