By Peter Kung
The Kerry Park Islanders scored five unanswerd goals to roll to a 5-2 win over the Victoria Cougars Thursday evening, pulling the Islanders back into their VIJHL semi-final series.
The Kerry Park Islanders did what the Victoria Cougars couldn’t do and that was cashing in on their opportunities.
Failure to finish off scoring chances and the inability to score on a two-man advantage were some of the things which would come back to haunt Victoria.
The hometown Cougars paid dearly when Kerry Park scored five unanswered goals en route to a 5-2 win on Thursday night.
Kyle Peterson scored twice while Brandon Nicholson, Cole Thomson, and Cole Peterson each chipped in with singles.
Replying for Victoria, who now lead the best-of-seven playoff series 2 games to 1, was Trevor Chown and Josh Wyatt.
The Cougars dominated the first half of the game before Kyle Peterson scored two quick ones in a span of eight seconds. Then a giveaway by goaltender Bryce Halverson resulted in a shorthanded goal by Nicholson which eventually turned out to be the game winner.
Mark Van Helvoirt’s troops opened the scoring at 16:24 for the only goal of the first period. Chown was credited with his second goal of the playoffs after his slap shot from the point ricocheted off the end boards before hitting an Islanders player out front and past goalkeeper Matt Chester.
Then with two seconds remaining in the period, Sam Rice sent a tape-to-tape pass out front to Rhys Williams who completely missed the net with a one timer from the high slot.
Wyatt, who was left all alone in the slot and also missing the net midway through the opening period, gave the Cougars a two goal lead after banging in his own rebound at 4:06 of the second period.
Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Josh Garneau who had over a minute and a half remaining in his hooking penalty.
The powerplay again was the Achilles heel for Victoria. They went 1-for-12 and are now a dismal 3-for-34 in the series.
Garneau, who picked up his team leading ninth assist and 11th point of the postseason at 10:58, set up Kyle Peterson for his first of two goals.
Then off the ensuing faceoff, Kyle Peterson sped in on a breakaway and beat Halverson at 11:06.
And in the blink of an eye the game was suddenly deadlocked at two apiece.
The Cougars began the final frame with just over a minute of powerplay time after Brett Leidl was called for boarding late in the second period.
Halverson, who tasted defeat for the first time since arriving to Vancouver Island in early December, turned the puck over to Nicholson who scored from behind the goal line.
Two minutes after Nicholson’s shorthanded goal, Garneau was sent to the penalty box after he slashed Chris Bannister. And behind the play, Cole Peterson was caught for slashing Brody Coulter which resulted in a two-man advantage for Victoria.
Shortly thereafter, 35 seconds to be exact, Islanders’ defenseman Chase Jackson-Puff was penalized for high-sticking.
But in the end, the Cougars came up empty despite having a five-on-three advantage for two full minutes.
Thomson doubled the lead after banging home a Connor Morgan rebound at 6:46.
Then for the first time in a long time, Victoria pulled Halverson for an extra attacker. Bannister, with two minutes left on the clock, rang the puck off the iron.
Capping off the comeback with an empty net goal was Cole Peterson who scored with 35.9 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Cougars, who had their 18 game win streak snapped, outshot Kerry Park 35-25.
Midway through the third period Robert Zadra started a melee which sparked a fight between himself and Leidl. Both players were ejected along with Islanders’ Clay Carson and Kevin Woodyatt who were penalized for being the third and fourth man in.
Game 4 goes Saturday in Mill Bay. Game time at the Kerry Park Recreation Centre, located at 1035 Shawnigan Mill Bay Road, is 7:30 p.m.
1st star, Matt Chester (Saves: 33, Save Percentage: .943)
2nd star, Kyle Peterson (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)
3rd star, Josh Wyatt (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)