Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
December 20, 2012, Victoria, BC (ISN) – A five goal second period would be all the scoring the Victoria Cougars would need as they went on to a 7-1 win over the injury depleted Saanich Braves in VIJHL action Thursday night at Archie Browning Arena in Victoria.
You just knew it was going to be an interesting night at the rink Thursday when the Victoria Cougars public address announcer, when notifying the crowd of the evening’s roster changes, warned everyone that they may need an extra pen if they were going to try and write them down.
Saanich’s Brandon Story tees up a shot in the second period Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
No less than 14 regular players from both sides, five for the Cougars and nine for the Braves, were out of the line-up when the #1 and #2 ranked Junior B teams in the Province went at it Thursday evening.
If you were to take all those regular players and put them all on one team, you’d have a pretty good looking VIJHL line-up, one with a goaltender to boot, as they included the likes of Mark Walton, Rhys Williams and Garrett Brandsma from the Cougars and Josh Gray, Max Mois, Shawn McBride, Jordan Groenhyde and goaltender Bowman Rutledge of the Braves.
Saanich’s Sam McMullen makes a move to try to get past Victoria defender Jake Stolz during Thursday night’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
In the end, it would be the Braves, and their six affiliate players – all from the Saanich Braves Midget AA program – who would suffer the most from the talent sitting on the sidelines, as they would end up on the short-end of the 7-1 score. They would also regret that the league’s leading scorer – Brody Coulter of the Cougars – was not one of those on the injury list, as Coulter would notch a hat-trick and an assist on the night to pace the Cougars attack.
Saanich’s Seamus Maguire charges into the Cougar’s zone during the second period Thursday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Things did not start out that badly for the Braves. In fact they started quite well, as a goal from Kevin Massy, his first of the season at the 7:20 mark, would be all the scoring in the first period, sending the Braves into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Things would go downhill for the Braves very quickly after that, as a combination of penalty trouble, a controversial goal and some “interesting” penalty calls would all turn the tide in the Cougars favour.
Victoria’s Ben Kinshella would earn second star honours Thursday with a goal and two assists against the Braves (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Cougars would score early in the period, as Coulter notched his first at the 4:03 mark. Shortly after that, the Braves, who would have five straight penalties called against them in the period, would find themselves on a two-man disadvantage, which would lead to a power-play goal from the Cougar’s Ben Kinshella at the 5:36 mark.
A controversial goal for the Cougars was next, as the puck was sitting on top of the net behind Saanich goaltender Tanner McGaw and was knocked off by a high stick and then put into the net by Dane Feeney. The goal was allowed, much to the dismay of the Braves and their Captain Ty Jones, who after knocking the water bottle off the top of the net, argued the call enough to get tossed from the game by referee Jordy Davis.
Saanich’s Nick Guerra flies past the Cougar’s Jake Daughtry in the third period of Thursday night’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Also following the goal, Saanich Head Coach Brad Cook requested that Davis come to the bench to explain why it was not waved off, but Davis refused, ordering the Braves to come to the centre ice faceoff. When Cook continued to request Davis come over, Davis promptly issued a bench minor to the Braves for delaying the game.
While the Cougars did not score on the ensuing powerplay, they would add two more goals before the period was over, one from Coulter at 11:09 and another on a short-handed effort from David Marshall with a minute to play, to take a 5-1 lead into the break.
Saanich’s Brandon Story looks to avoid a check from the Cougar’s Dane Feeney during the third period of the Cougar’s 7-1 win Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
That would be the end of the night for Braves starter Tanner McGaw as he would be replaced by back-up Jason Stewart, who would make his Junior B debut.
Stewart looked a bit nervous early as one might expect in facing the high-flying Cougars, giving up goals to Coulter at the 4:50 mark and to Jordan Law at the 5:25 mark, but would settle down to finish with 14 saves on 16 shots, shutting down the Cougars the rest of the way.
Saanich goaltender Jason Stewart, here trying to see past the Cougar’s Jake Daughtry, would make his Jr. B debut Thursday, replacing Tanner McGaw in the third period (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Cougars would finish the game outshooting the Braves 37-14, perhaps the Braves lowest shot output of the year. Evan Roch would get the win in net for the Cougars, while McGaw, who stopped 16 of 21 shots, was tagged with the loss.
Brody Coulter (3 G, 1A), Ben Kinshella (1G 2A), and Jake Stolz made it a clean sweep of the evening’s three stars for the Cougars.
The Braves will look to bounce back from the loss on Friday evening when they take on the Peninsula Panthers at Pearkes Arena in Saanich. Puck drop is 6:30 pm.