By Peter Kung
January 31, 3013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Cougars (40-1-0-2) host the Peninsula Panthers (21-18-0-3) in one of two Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League games on tap tonight. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
Tonight’s game marks the first of three straight meetings versus Peninsula.
After tonight, Victoria will square off against the Panthers tomorrow at the Panorama Recreation Centre before clashing for a third time next Thursday in Esquimalt.
The next three games could very well be a preview of the first round of the 2013 VIJHL playoffs.
If the regular season was to end today, the Cougars would face Peninsula while the other series in the South Island Division would pit the Saanich Braves against the Westshore Wolves.
However, the standings could change at any moment.
Peninsula, winless in its last two games, still has an outside chance to move up in the standings.
Brian Passmore and his troops currently sit in fourth place with 45 points and not counting tonight’s game, has six games remaining.
Third place is occupied by Westshore who has 53 points but only has three games left on its schedule.
And with 55 points and with six games remaining are the Braves.
Victoria is coming off a 7-4 win over the North Island Division leading Nanaimo Buccaneers.
Brody Coulter, who leads the VIJHL in scoring with 113 points, had a goal and three assists in that game. His line mate, Sam Rice, chipped in with four helpers and was named the game’s first star.
In their last game, the Panthers fell 5-1 to Kerry Park despite outshooting the Islanders 51-31.
Zack Smith scored the lone goal for Peninsula.
Tonight’s game also marks the fifth of eight regular season meetings between the two long-standing divisional rivals.
Victoria has won all five contests by scores of 6-2, 5-2, 3-1, 3-0, and 6-1.
It has been a while since the Panthers last visited the ABSC – 127 days to be exact.
The other game has Nanaimo entertaining Saanich.
STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 82 points, South Island Division. Peninsula – 4th place, 45 points, South Island Division
TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Brody Coulter, 37 goals; Brody Coulter, 76 assists; Brody Coulter, 113 points; Jo Davie, 130 penalty minutes. Peninsula – Zack Smith, 15 goals; Josh Adkins, 31 assists; Josh Adkins, 42 points; Brett Sjerven, 99 penalty minutes
GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Evan Roch (1.74 goals against average, .921 save percentage); Michael Herringer (2.35 goals against average, .894 save percentage). Peninsula – Stephen Heslop (3.33 goals against average, .896 save percentage); Josh Round (3.89 goals against average, .873 save percentage)
SEASON SERIES: Cougars lead series, 5-0-0-0
PAST RESULTS/FUTURE MEETINGS:
September 20, 2012. Peninsula Panthers 2 @ Victoria Cougars 6
September 27, 2012. Peninsula Panthers 2 @ Victoria Cougars 5
October 5, 2012. Victoria Cougars 3 @ Peninsula Panthers 1
November 2, 2012. Victoria Cougars 3 @ Peninsula Panthers 0
December 14, 2012. Victoria Cougars 6 @ Peninsula Panthers 1
February 1, 2013. Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers
February 7, 2013. Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars
HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 20-1-0-0. Peninsula – Away, 9-10-0-2
STREAKS: Victoria, WON 7. Peninsula, LOST 2
LAST TEN: Victoria, 9-0-0-1. Peninsula, 4-5-0-1