Kelyn Opel made quite the impression on his new teammates


Written by Peter Kung

January 4, 2013, Esquimalt, BC (ISN) – The 19-year-old forward, who was recently acquired from the Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, scored once and added two assists as the Victoria Cougars mauled the visiting Westshore Wolves 9-2 on a rainy Thursday evening.

Also scoring for Victoria was Mark Walton with a pair, Brody Coulter, Wade Johnson, Ben Kinshella, Sam Rice, Matthew Ho, and Nathan Chen-Mack.

Brett Trofanenko and Kyle Richter replied for Westshore who racked up 203 penalty minutes which included game ejections to both head coach Rob Doyle and backup goaltender Alec Dillon.

The Cougars (32-1-0-1) were back in action for the first time since December 20 and picked up right where they left off.

And with a nine game winning streak on the line, the outcome was never in doubt.

Victoria went 5-for-15 on the power play, went 6-for-7 on the penalty kill, scored a shorthanded goal, and outshot the overly aggressive Wolves 52-22.

At one point in the third period, Westshore (19-17-0-1) had only six players at their bench.

Walton, who returned to the lineup after missing the last four games, gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at the 1:19 mark of the first period. A giveaway by Chris McDonald led to Walton snapping the puck past starting goaltender Matt Chester from the slot.

Then at 8:08, Coulter beat Chester short side with a slap shot from the right faceoff dot. As for Coulter, the goal extended his point streak to 31 games.

A holding penalty to Josh Bloomenthal at the midway point of the period put Victoria on yet another power play. After Opel was stopped by Chester, Johnson gobbled up the loose puck at 11:16 for his 13th goal of the season.

Then just over three minutes later, Doyle was ejected from the game after voicing his displeasure towards referee Mike Christians. Taking over the reins behind the bench was assistant coach Kevin Fitzpatrick.

And from that point on, the Wolves would wear out the path to the penalty box.

Victoria, on a two man advantage, went ahead 4-0 when Kinshella teamed up with Rice at 15:21.

The score remained that way until the 9:37 mark of the second period.

On a delayed penalty, Rice notched his team leading second shorthanded goal after beating Chester top shelf. Jamie Severs was in the penalty box at the time of the goal.

Things got chippy when two separate fights broke out at 11:33.

Once the penalties were sorted out, Cougars’ Robert Zadra and Jo Davie as well as Westshore’s Tyler Smith and Bloomenthal each received fighting majors and automatic game misconducts.

Victoria though would end up on the power play after Smith received penalties for being both the instigator and aggressor.

Ho padded the lead at 14:39 when his point shot sailed over Chester’s right shoulder. Watching the proceedings from the sin bin were McDonald and Clay Carson.

Then playing four-on-four, Opel backhanded the puck over Chester at 18:32 to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead entering the second intermission.

Chester, who stopped 30 shots through 40 minutes, was replaced by Dillon.

After getting hauled down from behind by Ho, Trofanenko received a penalty shot at 1:45 of the third period. Skating wide right and then cutting back towards the middle, Trofanenko lit the lamp after snapping the puck between the legs of Evan Roch.

Richter then cut the lead to 7-2 with a power play goal at 3:26.

But only 27 seconds later, Walton restored Victoria’s six goal lead.

Dillon, who allowed one goal on five shots, was ejected from the game at 10:14 after he kept punching Walton with his blocker. After the dust settled, Dillon received a five minute major for roughing and a game misconduct.

And in came Chester for the second time.

Chen-Mack, on a power play, rounded out the scoring at 12:20 after his shot rang off the crossbar and in.

Roch made 20 saves for his league leading 21st win.

Chester took the loss after allowing eight goals on 47 shots.

In Nanaimo, Mitch Ball scored the game winner with just over three minutes to play in regulation to lead the Comox Valley Glacier Kings to a 4-3 victory over the hometown Buccaneers.


1st star, Kelyn Opel (Goals: 1, Assists: 2)

2nd star, Wade Johnson (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)

3rd star, Mark Walton (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)