By Peter Kung
September 21, 2012, Victoria, BC – It was home sweet home for the Victoria Cougars as Sam Rice scored once and added three assists to lead Victoria to a 6-2 win over the Peninsula Panthers on Thursday night.
The Cougars (6-0-0) returned home following wins in Nanaimo, Oceanside, and Westshore.
Also scoring for Victoria, who held period leads of 1-0 and 3-1, was Brody Coulter (2), David Marshall, Mark Walton, and Garrett Brandsma.
Josh Adkins and Spencer Loverock replied for the Panthers.
Having notched at least a point in his last five games, Rice opened the scoring at 4:56 of the first period. After Howard Howden and Coulter were both denied by goaltender Stephen Heslop, Rice gobbled up the rebound for a 1-0 Cougars lead.
Through six games, Rice leads all scorers in the nine-team Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League with three goals and 18 assists.
Victoria had a goal disallowed late in the period when referee Jeff Eden ruled that Nathan Chen-Mack had kicked the puck in the net.
The score remained 1-0 in favour of Victoria until the four minute mark of the second period. Streaking down the right side, Rice sent the puck over to Coulter who one-timed it past Heslop.
Just over a minute later Marshall beat Heslop high glove side during a breakaway. Assisting on Marshall’s third goal of the season was Ben Kinshella and net-minder Evan Roch.
Peninsula (2-3-0) got on the board at the seven minute mark after Adkins jammed the puck over Roch from the side of the net.
The goal was the first allowed by a Cougars penalty killing unit, snapping a string of 26 consecutive penalties killed.
A power play goal by Walton and an even strength goal from Coulter at 1:51 and 3:01 respectively put Victoria ahead 5-1.
However, Loverock answered back on the power play after picking the top corner of the net at 5:32.
A physical force all night, Brandsma sealed the deal for the Cougars 81 seconds later.
Victoria was 1-for-8 on the power play. The Panthers went 2-for-6 with the man advantage.
Shots on goal favoured the Cougars 39-21.
Next game for Victoria is Saturday, September 22 against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. Game time at the Comox Valley Sports Centre, located at 3001 Vanier Drive, is 7:30 p.m.