By Peter Kung
November 3, 2012, MILL BAY, BC – Three down, none to go. Playing their third game in three nights, the Victoria Cougars successfully collected six out of a possible six points following their 6-2 win over the Kerry Park Islanders on Saturday night.
Sam Rice spearheaded the attack with two goals and three assists.
Victoria (18-0-0-1), who defeated the Nanaimo Buccaneers and Peninsula Panthers along the way, did not at any point look out of sorts. In fact, they defied all odds by getting stronger as the game progressed.
The Cougars led 3-0 after one period and 5-1 after two.
Mark Walton, at 14:12, opened the scoring for Victoria who tallied five of its six goals on the power play. 12 seconds after Islanders’ leading scorer Kyle Peterson was penalized for high-sticking, Walton shot the puck over the glove of goaltender Joshua Alalouf for his 16th goal of the season – a career high.
Assisting on the goal were Rice and Brody Coulter who extended his point streak to 16 games.
Rice gave the Cougars a 2-0 lead after cutting through the middle and firing a wrist shot into the top corner of the net at 17:20.
Then with 28.3 seconds remaining in the period, Alex Milligan put Victoria on a late power play. Exactly 6.1 seconds later, Rice beat Alalouf with a long range changeup.
Kerry Park (2-14-0-2) pulled to within a pair of goals when Cougars’ rookie netminder Michael Herringer was beaten on the play by Milligan 12 seconds into the second period.
It looked as though the Islanders, who were going for their third straight win, made it a one goal game 24 seconds later when Peterson and the rest of his teammates began to celebrate.
Victoria dodged a bullet as referee Jeff Eden ruled no-goal.
A tripping penalty to Jamie Jensen put the Cougars on yet another power play. From the high slot, Coulter wired a howitzer past Alalouf at 7:13.
The goal proved fatal as Alalouf, who allowed four goals on 13 shots, was replaced by homegrown talent Jackson Jane.
Victoria dodged another bullet when Braden Lundahl and Milligan broke in on an odd man rush with eight minutes left in the middle frame. Using Milligan as a decoy, Lundahl rang the puck off the iron.
The score remained 4-1 until a power play goal by Walton at the 18 minute mark put the Cougars ahead by two safeties. For the slick forward, it was his fifth goal in four games.
Tyler Branzen and Milligan, who were both sitting in the sin bin, could only watch as Victoria took a 6-1 lead after Garrett Brandsma wired a one-timer past Jane at 8:41 of the third period.
And with a two man advantage of its own, Kerry Park closed out the scoring with just under four minutes remaining in regulation when Lundahl redirected a point shot past Herringer. In the penalty box at the time of the goal were Coulter and Robert Zadra.
Immediately following the goal, Islanders’ defenseman Colton Burt mocked the Cougar fans in attendance by cupping his hand to his ear.
Victoria outshot Kerry Park 28-21.
In Parksville, Cam McCarrick and Michael Fretz had four points apiece to lead the Oceanside Generals to a 10-4 victory over the Campbell River Storm.
And in Courtenay, Will Finlay scored the overtime winner as the Peninsula Panthers edged the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 5-4.
Next game for Victoria is Thursday, November 8 against the Kerry Park Islanders. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.