By Peter Kung
October 5, 2012, Sidney, BC – Outplayed in both the first and second periods, Brody Coulter and Garrett Brandsma rattled off third period goals in a span of 12 seconds to give the Victoria Cougars a 3-1 win over the hometown Peninsula Panthers on Friday night.
But the night belonged to Connor Lacouvee. Playing in his first game, the former Notre Dame Greyhounds goaltender made 23 saves which included robbing Connor Logan from point blank range with under a minute remaining in regulation.
Up to that point Victoria was protecting a two-goal lead.
Brandsma opened the scoring at 8:11 for the only goal of the first period. From the slot, the gritty forward wired the puck past Panthers goaltender Stephen Heslop for his first of two goals.
Peninsula tied the game at 2:43 of the middle frame when a point shot by Spencer Loverock made it through to the back of the net. The goal, which was scored on the power play, was the fourth of the season for the Panthers rookie defenseman.
From that point on, Lacouvee was flawless.
A spirited fight between Jordan Davie and Dane Gibson got the crowd at the Panorama Recreation Centre buzzing. Both players exchanged several blows before getting escorted off the ice.
Coulter notched his second game winning goal of the season at 4:48 of the third period. However, the goal could not have happened had it not been for William Ho knocking the puck off Cole Golka in the Cougars end of the ice.
Assisting on the goal were Sam Rice and Dane Feeney who now have recorded at least a point in their last 11 games.
Then 12 seconds later, Brandsma recorded his second multiple goal game in as many tries after he banged home a Mark Walton rebound.
Feeney, who was stopped on a breakaway; Coulter, who misfired from the slot; and Walton, who rang a midrange slap shot off the iron – came close to putting the game away.
Still having gas left in the tank, Victoria hemmed the Panthers in their own zone late in the game. Heslop was not able to skate to the bench for an extra attacker until the game clock showed 55 seconds remaining.
Looking for his second goal of the season, Logan made a nice toe-drag around a Cougars defender with 41.6 seconds left. But Lacouvee, who played last season in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, got his six-foot frame in front of the puck.
Victoria improved to 10-0-0-1 on the season; meanwhile, the Panthers dropped to 5-5-0-0.
Shots on goal were 25-24 in favour of the Cougars who went 0-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.
In other games around the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League: the Saanich Braves defeated the Nanaimo Buccaneers 7-2, the Westshore Wolves edged out the Campbell River Storm 5-3, and the Comox Valley Glacier Kings beat the Kerry Park Islanders 7-3.
Next game for Victoria is Thursday, October 11 against Kerry Park. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.