February 21, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Cougars open Round 1 of the 2013 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs tonight against the Peninsula Panthers.
Victoria, who will have home ice advantage, finished 45 points ahead of the Panthers during the regular season.
Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Rd., is 7:00 p.m.
The winner will advance to the South Island Division Final where it will meet either the Saanich Braves or Westshore Wolves.
Saanich has a 2-0 series lead with Game 3 slated for Feb. 22.
The Cougars swept the season series; beating Peninsula by scores of 6-2, 5-2, 3-1, 3-0, 6-1, 4-2, 6-3, and 11-2.
Brody Coulter, who amassed a league high 118 points during the regular season, and Dane Feeney lead all Victoria scorers against the Panthers with six goals and eight assists. Their line mate Sam Rice lit the lamp five times while adding seven helpers for 12 points versus Peninsula this season.
Aldergrove, B.C. native Reece Costain holds the hot hand for the Panthers with two goals and four assists. However, five of his six points occurred in the final three meetings.
Of Peninsula’s 13 goals scored against the Cougars, two came from Spencer Loverock and two came off the stick of Cody Breitenstein; both of whom are defensemen.
Evan Roch, who set a league low 1.79 goals against average during the regular season, posted a 1.75 G.A.A. and a .910 save percentage in four starts versus the Panthers. Michael Herringer, who recently played 13 minutes and not allowing a goal in a relief role for the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Royals this past weekend, is perfect in three starts against Peninsula while at the same time compiling a 1.67 G.A.A. and a .917 S.P.
Stephen Heslop has received the majority of the starts versus Victoria during the regular season. Winless in seven starts against the Cougars, the former product of the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey Association, amassed a 5.78 G.A.A. and a .849 S.P. against Victoria. Josh Round, who was acquired from the Comox Valley Glacier Kings in late November, has a 4.42 G.A.A. and a .889 S.P. versus the Cougars this season.
In the special teams department, Victoria’s power play went 11-for-50 while the Panthers finished 7-for-48.
“Formidable” is one of several adjectives to describe the Cougars season.
Victoria went 45-1-0-2 and finished #1 amongst all 39 Junior B teams in British Columbia. Mark Van Helvoirt and his troops also wound up first in the VIJHL in winning percentage (.958), goals for (275), goals against (96), power play efficiency (32.78 percent), and penalty kill efficiency (88.89 percent).
Four Cougar players cracked the top-10 in league scoring; Coulter (39g-79a), Rice (21g-75a), Feeney (35g-46a), and Ben Kinshella (25g-38a) were ranked 1-2-4-5 respectively.
Defensively, Victoria is rock solid with the likes of Graham Zagrodney, Rhys Williams, Jake Stolz, Robert Zadra, Matthew Ho, and Brandon Workun patrolling the blue line.
The Panthers, who finished 22-23-0-3, is led by 17-year-old forward Josh Adkins. In 46 games, Adkins had 11 goals and 32 assists for 43 points in his rookie season.
Beyond Adkins, Peninsula is also led offensively by Zack Smith, Cole Glover, and Daniel Welch; all of whom are capable of putting the puck in the net as well.
Both teams took a hit at the Jan. 10 CJHL trade deadline. Victoria lost 27-goal scorer Garrett Brandsma to the Nanaimo Clippers while Loverock was signed by the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
Earlier in the season, the Cowichan Valley Capitals scooped up both Cougars’ goaltender Connor LaCouvee and Panthers’ forward Dane Gibson.
STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 92 points, South Island Division. Peninsula – 4th place, 47 points, South Island Division
TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Brody Coulter, 39 goals; Brody Coulter, 79 assists; Brody Coulter, 118 points; Jo Davie, 145 penalty minutes. Peninsula – Zack Smith, 18 goals; Josh Adkins, 32 assists; Josh Adkins, 43 points; Grayson Vickers, 112 penalty minutes
GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Evan Roch (1.79 goals against average, .920 save percentage); Michael Herringer (2.23 goals against average, .899 save percentage). Peninsula – Stephen Heslop (3.59 goals against average, .890 save percentage); Josh Round (3.89 goals against average, .877 save percentage)
SEASON SERIES: Victoria won series, 8-0-0-0
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
January 31, 2013. Peninsula Panthers 2 @ Victoria Cougars 4
February 1, 2013. Victoria Cougars 6 @ Peninsula Panthers 3
February 7, 2013. Peninsula Panthers 2 @ Victoria Cougars 11
HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 23-1-0-0. Peninsula – Away, 9-13-0-2
STREAKS: Victoria, WON 12. Peninsula, WON 1
LAST TEN: Victoria, 10-0-0-0. Peninsula, 3-7-0-0
Game 2. February 22, 2013. Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers
Game 3. February 24, 2013. Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars
Game 4. February 25, 2013. Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers
Game 5 (if necessary). February 28, 2013. Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars
Game 6 (if necessary). March 1, 2013. Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers
Game 7 (if necessary). March 3, 2013. Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars