Story by Peter Kung – Photos by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
March 27, 2013, Esquimalt, BC (ISN) – Sam Rice recorded back-to-back hat tricks to lead the Victoria Cougars past the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 9-3 in Game 2 of the VIJHL Finals on Tuesday night.
After scoring his seventh, eighth, and ninth goals of the playoffs this past weekend, Rice added three more to his collection as Victoria jumped out to a 2-0 series lead.
The puck rebounds off Cougars’ goaltender Evan Roch’s blocker – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
Fifteen players hit the score sheet, including Wade Johnson, Jamie Severs, Dane Feeney, Kelyn Opel, David Marshall, and Jo Davie, each with a goal. Michael Scobie scored twice in a losing cause while Tyson Rennie notched his fifth goal in four games.
A collision between Cougars Mark Walton and Glacier Kings Michael Scobie – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
The Glacier Kings came out hitting on the opening shift. With the game not even half a minute old, both Rice and Brody Coulter were knocked to the ice in separate incidences. But on the next shift, Robert Zadra got retribution by catching Rennie with his head down.
Glacier Kings Michael Pond looses his footing after facing off with Cougars Brody Coulter – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
Johnson opened the scoring at 1:48 of the first period after banging home a Marshall rebound over the catching glove of starting goaltender Michael Hails. Then at 7:31, Victoria went ahead 2-0 on a changeup by Rice from the point.
Evan Roch got the start in net for the Cougars and showed why he led the VIJHL with 28 regular season wins. With just under eight minutes remaining in the period, Roch robbed Nick Tupper from point blank range.
Cougars Ben Kinshella and Glacier Kings Andrew White take the hit as much as they are giving it – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
After the save, Severs came back the other way and scored from the top of the right faceoff circle at 12:24. Both teams came out like gangbusters in the second period.
19 seconds in, Feeney sped down the right wing and from the faceoff dot, threaded the puck between Hails’ legs. For the second time in as many games, Hails was replaced by Bryce Di Rocco. Hails, who was pulled after Victoria’s fifth goal in Game 1, allowed four goals on 19 shots.
But only 24 ticks later, Rennie, on a nice individual effort, got Comox Valley on the board.
Glacier Kings goaltender Bryce Di Rocco, makes a save – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
There was no scoring until the 8:01 mark when Rice was set up by Coulter for the first of three Cougars power play goals. With a power play goal of his own, Opel gave the Cougars a 6-1 lead at 12:18. Then on a two-on-one, Marshall, at 15:26, used Johnson as a decoy before blowing the puck past Di Rocco.
On the fourth power play of the night, Davie converted a Graham Zagrodney rebound into a goal at 19:19. Severs, whose tripping penalty at 8:43 of the third period, would lead to Scobie scoring the Glacier Kings second goal. Just under a minute later, Rice scored from Ben Kinshella at 11:14.
Scobie would round out the scoring at 18:35 with a power play goal.
The Cougars, who went 3-for-7 with the man advantage and 5-for-7 on the penalty kill, outshot Comox Valley 43-27. Rice and Feeney are tied for the lead in playoff scoring with 29 points apiece.
In other playoff action around British Columbia, the Castlegar Rebels defeated the North Okanagan Knights 2-1 to take a 1-0 series lead in the KIJHL Finals.
And in Aldergrove, the Richmond Sockeyes will represent the PIJHL at the Cyclone Taylor Cup following their 2-1 win and four-game sweep of the Kodiaks.
Both Victoria and Glacier Kings have qualified for the Cyclone Taylor Cup, held April 11-14 at the Comox Valley Sports Centre.
Game 3 goes Thursday, March 28. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
1st star, Sam Rice (Goals: 3, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Robert Zadra (Goals: 0, Assists: 3)
3rd star, Jo Davie (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)