By Peter Kung, Photos by Dave Burgess
October 26, 2012, Victoria, BC – Although Halloween is not until next week, the Victoria Cougars received an early scare. Doing their part in preventing a colossal upset were Brody Coulter and Sam Rice who recorded four points apiece in a 7-3 Victoria Cougars win over the Campbell River Storm on Thursday night.
The win was not an easy one as the friendly confines of the Archie Browning Sports Centre almost became a House of Horrors.
Campbell River, who suffered its ninth straight loss, kept pace with the No. 1 ranked Cougars (15-0-0-1) for more than two-thirds of the game.
The score remained respectable until Victoria put the game out of reach with a couple of late power play goals.
Brody Coulter in action against Campbell River Thursday. Coulter would earn 4 assists on the night (Photo: Dave Burgess / Victoria Cougars)
And every time the Storm (3-9-0-2) got to within striking distance the Cougars quickly answered back with a goal or two of their own.
Victoria opened the scoring at the 8:23 mark for the only goal of the first period.
Rice, who extended his point streak to 16 games, passed the puck to Coulter whose long range slap shot was redirected in by Mark Walton.
Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Jon Brumwell.
Now all eyes were on Dane Feeney who too entered the contest riding a 15 game point streak.
Campbell River, who was outshot 15-3, did not record its second shot on goal until there was six minutes remaining in the period. And had it not been for the spectacular play of goaltender Jordan Salas, the score would have been much worse.
There was no scoring until the 13 minute mark of the second period when Tyson Rennie, who had a defender draped all over him, slid the puck behind Cougars’ net minder Michael Herringer.
But the celebrations did not last long – 30 seconds in fact.
Rookie defenseman Jesse Nixon recorded his first point of the season after his shot was tipped home by Wade Johnson.
The Storm got a scare of its own when Brady Janzen went crashing into the end boards in the late stages of the period. Janzen did not return after being helped off the ice by trainer John Harris.
A slashing penalty to Jake Stolz at 17:44 put Campbell River on its second power play of the night. 11 seconds later, Brumwell lit the lamp with a well-placed backhander from the slot to knot the score at 2-2.
Again, the celebrations did not last long.
A power play goal from Walton put Victoria back in the lead at 18:52. And then with 5.5 seconds remaining in the period, Robert Zadra scored his first of the season as he converted a perfect centering pass from Coulter.
But the determined and resilient Storm kept chipping away.
Rennie, who finished with three points, pulled Campbell River to within a goal after taking a carom off the end boards at 2:52 of the third period.
And for the third and final time, the celebrations did not last long.
56 seconds later, Feeney banged in a Matthew Ho rebound to extend his point streak to 16 games.
A cross-checking penalty to Rennie put the Cougars on another power play. Rice made Rennie pay for his mistake after scoring from Feeney and Ben Kinshella to give Victoria a 6-3 lead at 16:05.
Then 40 seconds later and with Gibson Doney putting the visitors behind the eight-ball, Johnson set up David Marshall with a tape-to-tape pass.
The Cougars peppered Salas with 54 shots which included 23 in the third period alone.
Herringer, who improved to 6-0-0-1 on the season, made 17 saves.
Victoria went 4-for-10 on the power play while the Storm went 1-for-3.
In Nanaimo, Cameron Large turned aside all 29 shots he faced and Lucas Franssen scored three times as the Buccaneers blanked the visiting Oceanside Generals 5-0.
Next game for the Cougars is Thursday, November 1 against Nanaimo. Game time at the A.B.S.C., located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
1st star, Brody Coulter (Goals: 0, Assists: 4)
2nd star, Sam Rice (Goals: 1, Assists: 3)
3rd star, Dane Feeney (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)