By Peter Kung
Victoria, BC, February 10, 2012 – Jake Stolz had a goal and an assist and Evan Roch stopped 29 of 30 shots to give the Victoria Cougars a 3-1 win over the Peninsula Panthers Friday evening.
Evan Roch deserved better.
Although the Victoria Cougars came away with a 3-1 win over the Peninsula Panthers on Friday, what stings the most was how Roch lost his shutout bid.
With one minute and 47-seconds remaining in regulation, Peninsula went on its fourth and final powerplay when Colin Minardi was assessed a two minute minor for slashing.
Immediately following the penalty, Peninsula took a timeout to discuss strategy. Instead of sending five players out, head coach Rob Armstrong pulled goaltender Kylar Stern for an extra attacker.
The move paid off.
During a mad scramble in the Cougars goal area, Trevor Yee managed to get a hold of the puck and fire it home while Roch lay on the ice with 1:07 left in the game.
Prior to, 77 seconds in fact, Victoria had a goal disallowed. Despite signalling a goal, referee Mike Christians conferred with one of his linesmen to get a second opinion. After a brief discussion, Christians ruled that the net had come off of its moorings.
The score remained 3-0 in favour of the Cougars.
Jake Stolz, who oozes with potential, opened the scoring at 7:33 of the first period. From the blueline, Stolz took a pass from Steve Axford before firing the puck into a wide open net. On the play, Stern was leaning the wrong way.
With another point under his belt, Axford moved into a first place tie for the VIJHL scoring race with the likes of teammate Brody Coulter and Saanich Braves’ forward Ty Jones. Coulter did not play Friday and neither did Jones whose Braves hosted the Kerry Park Islanders.
Chris Bannister doubled the lead with 40.8 seconds left in the period when his shot beat Stern short side.
Half a minute later, a fight broke out between Rhys Williams and Panthers’ leading scorer Joe Densmore. Both players were issued automatic game misconducts.
The score remained 2-0 until the 7:47 mark of the third period when Nathan Chen-Mack beat Stern with a wrist shot from the high slot.
In the period, both Josh Wyatt and Graham Zagrodney rang the puck off the iron.
Roch, who has won his last six starts, made 29-of-30 saves. 200 feet away, Stern faced 49 shots.
Victoria improved to 34-5-0-1 and extended its win streak to 14 games.
The loss dropped Peninsula to 16-19-0-4.
In other action around the VIJHL, the Kerry Park Islanders defeated Saanich 4-3 in a shootout while the Campbell River Storm won 4-3 over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
Next game for the Cougars is Thursday, February 16 against the Campbell River Storm. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:15 p.m.
1st star, Jake Stolz (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Evan Roch (Saves: 29, Save Percentage: .967)
3rd star, Kayle Ramsay (Goals: 0, Assists: 0)