Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
November 9, 2012, Saanich, BC – When you are a 19-0-1 hockey club, the bounces tend to go your way and nowhere was that more evident than Pearkes Arena in Saanich on Friday night, as the Victoria Cougars broke open a 2-2 tie with four third period goals to defeat the Saanich Braves 6-2 in VIJHL action.
The Cougars’ third and fourth goals of the game, scored by Dane Feeney (at 11:46) and Rhys Williams (at 16:55) respectively, both came on pinball like re-directions of point shots that found their way past Braves starter Tanner McGaw and into the back of the net.
The Cougar’s David Marshall tries to make life difficult for the Brave’s Brandon Parmar in front of the Sannich net (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Coming on the heels of an earlier third period goal by Braves’ Nate Wade, the first of his Junior career, that pulled the Braves even with the Cougars 2-2, the two Cougar goals seemed to deflate the Braves, who quickly surrendered two more goals to the Cougars in the next two minutes, one by Ben Kinshella and another into an empty net by Garrett Brandsma to make the final 6-2 for the Cougars.
Victoria’s Garrett Brandsma carries the puck through centre ice in Friday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The 6-2 score was not indicative of how close the game actually was.
The Cougar’s deadly power play gave them a 1-0 first period lead when Feeney scored his first of the game at 12:48 and they added to that on a second power play goal by Graham Zagradney at the 13:33 mark of the second period.
Zagradney’s goal was notable, as he had to leave the game in the first period after being slammed head first into the boards by the Brave’s Josh McGladery and suffering a bad cut to the forehead. Zagradney was quickly escorted off the ice and taken across the parking lot to the Tillicum Mall Medical Clinic where he was stitched up and sent back to the rink in record time so that he could return to the game.
After suffering a bad cut that needed stitches (top photo), the Cougar’s Graham Zagrodney returned to action, scoring Victoria’s second goal of the game in Period 2 on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
After Zagradney’s goal, the Braves would respond three minutes later when Sam McMullen would bang one home past Cougar starter Evan Roch making it 2-1, a score that would hold up for the remainder of what was a very entertaining second period of hockey.
Saanich’s Sam Johnston drives into the Cougar’s zone during Friday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
In the third, after Wade’s tying goal with 16:00 left to play, both sides played tight checking hockey that gave one the sense that this game would continue to be close the remainder of the period. However Feeney’s deflection of a Rhys Williams point shot changed all that and the rest was history as the Cougars cruised to the win.
Sam McMullen was the bright spot for the Braves on offence, notching a goal and an assist in the 6-2 loss to the Cougars (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
For the Cougars, Brody Coulter continued to shine, as he earned three assists on the night and sits in first in VIJHL scoring. Feeney (with his two goals), Kinshella (with a goal and two assists), and Williams (goal and two assists), also had strong nights for the victors. Goaltender Roch stopped 17 of 19 shots for the win. McGaw would stop 31 of 36 shots in taking the loss.
Victoria’s Brody Coulter celebrates the Cougar’s 4th goal, on which he had one of his three assists on the night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Regarding the two third period go ahead goals, Cougar Head Coach Mark Van Helvoirt said it was simply a matter of following through on their game plan coming in. “This is a small rink and part of our game plan when we play here is just to throw as many pucks as possible at the net, there is never a bad shot in the offensive zone, and tonight we did a good job of going to the net and getting some sticks on those shots, caught a break or two and they went in.”
Game Notes: The Braves made some roster moves prior to Friday’s game, releasing forward Nick Kapusty who had been with the team since the start of the season, as well as forward Connor Cross, who played in the Braves last two games. Inserted into Friday’s game was forward Branden Story. Saanich’s Ty Jones was named VIJHL Player of the Week for his efforts in wins over Westshore and Kerry Park last week.