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October 28, 2012, Victoria, BC – The Victoria Cougars host the Nanaimo Buccaneers this Thursday to open a stretch of three games in three nights. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.

Following its game against Nanaimo, Mark Van Helvoirt and his troops will hit the road for games against Peninsula and Kerry Park on Friday and Saturday respectively. Thursday night’s tilt marks the second of four meetings between Victoria and the expansion Buccaneers.

Back on September 13, in the third game of the season for both teams, the Cougars eked out a 3-2 win at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Nathan Chen-Mack, Garrett Brandsma, and Dane Feeney scored for Victoria in that game. Replying for the Buccaneers were Quentin McShane and Dylan Moore. The Cougars went 1-for-3 with the man advantage; meanwhile, Nanaimo went 0-for-3. Goaltender Evan Roch made 22 saves for the win. Cameron Large took the loss after getting peppered with 35 shots.

Victoria (15-0-0-1) enters Thursday’s game sitting atop of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League with 31 points. 

Led by Sam Rice and Brody Coulter, the Cougars extended their win streak to nine games following a 7-3 victory over the Campbell River Storm last Thursday. Rice scored once and added three assists while Coulter chipped in with four helpers. Also scoring for Victoria was Mark Walton with a pair, Wade Johnson, Robert Zadra, David Marshall, and Feeney. Michael Herringer turned aside 17-of-20 shots to improve to 6-0-0-1 on the season.

The trio of Coulter, Rice, and Feeney continues to lead the league in scoring. Paving the way is Coulter who has 13 goals and 31 assists for 44 points. Rice is a close second with nine goals and 32 assists for 41 points followed by Feeney who has 13 goals and 20 assists for 33 points.

Rice and Feeney are both riding 16-game point streaks which date back to the first game of the season.

Nanaimo (7-9-0-1) is coming off a disappointing 4-3 loss to the Oceanside Generals last Saturday. With less than a minute to play in regulation and trailing 3-2, General’s Noah Russi scored a shorthanded goal to send the game to overtime. After nothing was settled in the five-minute overtime period, the game went to a shootout.

Ethan Larson ended up being the hero after he put the puck past Large for the only goal of the shootout. Failing on their attempts for Nanaimo were Jordan Levesque, Garrett Dunlop, and Cole Newman.

The Buccaneers sit fourth in the league in penalty kill percentage (85.2), fifth in the league in goals against per game (3.6), sixth in the league in winning percentage (.441), sixth in the league in goal differential (-11), seventh in the league in goal for per game (3.0), and ninth in the league in power play percentage (8.2).

Dunlop is tied for 13th place in league scoring with seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points.

STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 31 points, South Island Division. Nanaimo – 3rd place, 15 points, North Island Division

TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Mark Walton, 14 goals; Sam Rice, 32 assists; Brody Coulter, 44 points; Garrett Brandsma, 73 penalty minutes. Nanaimo – Jordan Levesque, 8 goals; Garrett Dunlop, 12 assists; Garrett Dunlop, 19 points; Nick White, 54 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Evan Roch (1.75 goals against average, .922 save percentage); Michael Herringer (2.55 goals against average, .888 save percentage). Nanaimo – Cameron Large (3.49 goals against average, .890 save percentage); Riley Medves (3.70 goals against average, .880 save percentage)

SEASON SERIES: Cougars lead series, 1-0-0-0


September 13, 2012. Nanaimo Buccaneers 2 @ Victoria Cougars 3

January 5, 2013. Victoria Cougars @ Nanaimo Buccaneers

January 27, 2013. Nanaimo Buccaneers @ Victoria Cougars

HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 7-0-0-0. Nanaimo – Away, 4-4-0-1

STREAKS: Victoria, W9. Nanaimo, L1

LAST TEN: Victoria, 9-0-0-1. Nanaimo, 3-6-0-1