By Peter Kung
September 14, 2012, NANAIMO, BC – There is one less undefeated team in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League as the Victoria Cougars improved to 3-0-0 on the season following their 3-2 win over the Nanaimo Buccaneers in front of a near capacity crowd at the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Thursday night.
Dane Feeney, who was named the game’s first star, scored the game winner midway through the third period when his shot from the outer hash marks of the right faceoff circle fooled goaltender Cameron Large.
But less than two minutes later, Dylan Moore cut the Buccaneers deficit to 3-2 with a seeing eye shot that bounced off the crossbar and in.
Nanaimo had a glorious chance to tie the game with one minute and 13 seconds remaining in regulation when Mark Walton was penalized for hooking.
However, in a strange turn of events, Buccaneers head coach Brad Knight elected not to pull Large for an extra attacker until 21 seconds were left on the game clock. Nor did Knight call a 30 second timeout to discuss strategy or to give his players a much needed rest.
Nanaimo fell to 2-1-0.
However, the expansion Buccaneers showed why they could be a force to be reckoned with as they limited Victoria to only five first period shots.
But the high-flying Cougars began the middle frame with a vengeance and never looked back.
After averaging one dismal shot for every four minutes, Victoria scored on its first shot of the second period.
16 seconds in, Nathan Chen-Mack scored his second of the season to get the Cougars on the board. Assisting on the goal was Sam Rice, who was recently named VIJHL Player of the Week, and Rhys Williams.
But at 3:04, Quentin McShane tied the game after backhanding the puck past net minder Evan Roch from the slot.
A penalty to Jackson Robinson for tripping Walton at 6:53 put the Cougars on a power play. And with 21 seconds remaining in the penalty, Garrett Brandsma put the puck behind his former Comox Valley Glacier King teammate to make the score 2-1.
Victoria, which outshot the Buccaneers 32-22, went 1-for-3 with the man advantage and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
The only other team yet to lose this season are the Saanich Braves who sit at 2-0-0.
Next game for Victoria is Saturday, September 15 against the Oceanside Generals. Game time at Oceanside Place, located at 830 West Island Highway, is 7:30 p.m.