April 12, 2013, Courtenay, BC (ISN) – Brandon Egli scored in the second period, Evan Roch made 27 saves, and Victoria kept its gold medal hopes alive with a 1-0 win over the Castlegar Rebels in round robin play at the 2013 Cyclone Taylor Cup.
After their opening night loss to the PJHL champion Richmond Sockeyes, the Cougars could ill afford going into tomorrow night’s game against the host Comox Valley Glacier Kings with an 0-2 record.
A potential 0-2 record would have been disastrous; given the length of the tournament.
Despite the lack of offense on the scoreboard, each team had numerous upon numerous chances to put the other away.
But it was the sensational play of both Roch and Jordan Gluck.
Victoria received a two-man power play early in the game when the KIJHL champion Rebels took a too many men on the ice penalty at 5:25 followed up with an interference penalty to J.R. Krolik 42 seconds later.
Gluck, who turned aside 29-of-30 shots in his Cyclone Taylor Cup debut, looked like fellow New Yorker Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings when he robbed Nathan Chen-Mack twice from in close.
The Cougars at that point held a 6-0 shots on goal advantage. But the momentum shifted in a big way when Castlegar, who did not get their first shot on goal until the 10:07 mark, proceeded to get eight more shots on goal before Victoria could finally get one of its own with 2:47 left in the period.
And then with just over a minute remaining in the opening frame, Dane Feeney had a wide open net only to get thwarted by the left arm of Gluck.
The first period was physical and both teams continued their aggressive play well into the second period.
Four minutes into the period, Graham Zagrodney wallpapered Stuart Walton along the side wall which sent the helmet of the offensive juggernaut flying high in the air. Walton would return to the game but not before getting attended to by safety person Kim Tassone at the bench.
After the hit, the Rebels cranked up the intensity.
But the intensity was short lived when Egli teamed up with Mark Walton and Wade Johnson at 5:49 for the first and only goal of the game.
The Cougars got lucky midway through the period when Diego Bartlett had the puck roll off his stick with a wide open net to shoot at.
Riley Ostoforoff got into the hit parade after sending Sam Rice head over heels.
Again, the physical play continued into the third period.
Johnson jolted Krolik into the end boards 90 seconds in.
Victoria got four great chances for the go-ahead goal. Ben Kinshella had his point blank shot stopped. Then Rice had his shot from the high slot picked out of the air by Gluck.
Rice rang the puck off the iron after splitting the defense. And on a 2-0 break, Jamie Severs passed the puck to Brody Coulter but the Cougars captain was in to tight to get a decent shot off.
Castlegar received a power play at the 12:57 mark after Matthew Ho was sent to the penalty box for interference. And after some tense moments in the Victoria end, the Cougars would come out unscathed.
Late in the game, Feeney came up big by using his five-foot-seven frame to block two potential game tying shots.
Gluck was pulled with 1:07 remaining in regulation and despite crowding the crease and getting a couple of good scoring opportunities, the Rebels would fall short.
Victoria went 0-for-2 on the power play; meanwhile, Castlegar went 0-for-3.
Former Kerry Park Islanders defenseman Brett Leidl was not in the lineup for the Rebels after he suffered a lower body injury last night against Comox Valley.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Brandon Egli, Evan Roch (Victoria Cougars)
Brenden Heinrich, Jordan Gluck (Castlegar Rebels)