Cougars Claw Panthers 5-2

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By Peter Kung

September 28, 2012, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Cougars scored four unanswered goals to beat the Peninsula Panthers 5-2 in one of two Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League games played Thursday night.

Dane Feeney led the charge with three assists while Sam Rice, Brody Coulter, Nathan Chen-Mack, Garrett Brandsma, and Mark Walton each chipped in with a couple of points.

Victoria got off to an ominous start, trailing 1-0 and 2-1 before scoring the next four goals.

Cougar fans got a bit of a surprise, albeit a pleasant surprise, when Jake Daughtry was spotted on the ice for the pre-game warm up.

A fan favourite from two years ago, the former Melfort Mustang made his presence known when he wallpapered a Peninsula defender into the end boards. But later in his shift, Daughtry put the Panthers on an early power play after he was assessed a penalty for hitting to the head.

It did not take long, 18 seconds in fact, for Cody Breitenstein to give Peninsula that all-important first goal. Taking a pass from fellow defenseman Patrick Croome, the six-foot-two, 170-pound California native fired a wrist shot past Evan Roch at 2:55.

Victoria (7-0-0-1) tied the game at 5:48 after Rice took a pass off the boards and then fired the puck through the legs of Stephen Heslop.

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Victoria’s Nathan Chen-Mack reaches for a loose puck in front of Peninsula goalie Stephen Heslop (Photo: Doug Burgess / Victoria Cougars)

Cole Glover restored the Panthers lead with his fourth goal of the season at 11:57.

But at 15:23, on a power play, Coulter pulled the Cougars even when his point shot fluttered past Heslop. Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Spencer Loverock who was serving a hooking penalty.

Thursday’s game was a hard hitting affair with players from both teams scattered all over the ice.

It remained 2-2 until the 13:02 mark of the second period.

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The Cougars Sam Rice (27) and Jake Stolz (2) have a friendly chat with the Panther’s Josh Adkins (Photo: Gord Doucette / Island Sports News)

Catching Peninsula on a line change, Brandsma fed the puck over to Chen-Mack who twinkled the twine for the game winner.

Late in the period and with Victoria clinging to a one goal lead, Roch came up with huge save after huge save.

Five minutes into the final frame, the Cougars had to deal with the loss of their captain when he was tossed from the game for checking Logan Gibson from behind.

And with Coulter taking an early shower, Chen-Mack moved up to the first line to play alongside Rice and Feeney.

15 seconds after Coulter received his fate; Glover was penalized for tripping Walton.

Rhys Williams, who leads all defenseman in VIJHL scoring with nine points, made a tape-to-tape pass to Brandsma who one timed the puck behind Heslop at 6:01. The two teams were playing four aside at the time of the goal.

Peninsula (3-4-0-0) came close to making it a one goal game midway through the period but the puck rang off the crossbar.

A collision between teammates Jonas Horvath and Croome resulted in Rice tallying his fifth goal of the season and league leading 25th point.

The Cougars outshot the Panthers 14-7 in the first period, 14-10 in the second, and 12-5 in the third for a game total of 40-22.

Both teams went 1-for-5 on the power play.

In the other game, the Saanich Braves downed the Nanaimo Buccaneers 5-3.

Next game for Victoria is Friday, September 28 against the Campbell River Storm. Game time at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena, located at 225 Dogwood Street, is 7:30 p.m.

THREE STARS:

1st star, Mark Walton (Goals: 0, Assists: 2)

2nd star, Dane Feeney (Goals: 0, Assists: 3)

3rd star, Rhys Williams (Goals: 0, Assists: 1)

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