March 24, 2013, Courtenay, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Cougars scored four unanswered second period goals en route to a 6-3 win over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings in Game 1 of the VIJHL Finals on Saturday night.
Playing in front of a standing room only crowd at the Comox Valley Sports Centre, Victoria opened the floodgates on goals by Wade Johnson, Nathan Chen-Mack, Matthew Ho, and Sam Rice.
The two teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes.
Comox Valley, who dominated the opening frame by holding the high-flying Cougars to only six shots on goal, ran into penalty trouble in both the second and third periods.
Ten of the Glacier Kings 13 penalties occurred during the last two-thirds of the game.
It all started when Michael Pond was assessed a double minor for high-sticking Rice behind the Comox Valley net. And with just over a minute remaining in the penalty, Chen-Mack had his pass tipped home by Johnson at 3:52.
A hooking penalty to ex-Peninsula Panthers defenseman Patrick Croome on Kelyn Opel put the Glacier Kings back on the penalty kill. Ten seconds later, Chen-Mack grabbed hold of a loose puck at 7:08 and wasted little time firing it into the empty net from close range.
Victoria increased its lead to three as Ho beat Michael Hails with a point shot through a screen at 13:06.
Then with less than two minutes remaining in the period, two unlikely players got into a fight. Having never dropped the gloves all season, ex-Saanich Braves forward Andrew White and Brandon Egli circled one another before exchanging blows.
Both players received fighting majors and automatic game misconducts.
35 seconds later, Rice notched his second of three goals after scoring low stick side on Hails.
Hails, who stopped 12-of-17 shots up to that point, was replaced by Bryce Di Rocco after the goal.
But as the third period got underway, Hails was back in net.
Pond, who was named the game’s third star, scored at 12:47 to cut the deficit to 5-2. But three minutes later, Rice would notch his first hat-trick of the season after he wired the puck top shelf from the slot.
Brandon Halls closed out the scoring with a shorthanded goal late for the Glacier Kings.
Victoria played without forward Jake Daughtry who is sidelined with a lower body injury. Playing alongside Jo Davie and David Marshall on the energy line was Jamie Severs.
Rice opened the scoring with a power play goal at 5:46 of the first period. But 11 seconds later, Jack Kennelly scored from White and Cody Eliason to even things up.
But a string of penalties would doom Comox Valley who spent a good part of the second and third periods playing shorthanded.
The Cougars went 3-for-13 on the power play while going a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Despite allowing two goals on six third period shots, Roch was otherwise solid in between the pipes. His best save came midway through the middle frame when he stopped a Tyson Rennie breakaway.
Victoria outshot the Glacier Kings 30-21.
Game 2 goes Tuesday, March 26. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 6:30 p.m.
1st star, Sam Rice (Goals: 3, Assists: 0)
2nd star, Nathan Chen-Mack (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
3rd star, Michael Pond (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)