The stage is set for an epic finale

113

Peter Kung

April 14, 2013, Courtenay, BC (ISN) – Brody Coulter scored twice and added a pair of assists to lead the Victoria Cougars to a 6-1 thumping of the Comox Valley Glacier Kings at the 2013 Cyclone Taylor Cup on Saturday night.

The win puts Victoria (2-1) into the finals on Sunday afternoon against the Richmond Sockeyes (3-0).

It will be the second year in a row that the Cyclone Taylor Cup will be won by a team from either the Pacific Junior Hockey League or Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

The Abbotsford Pilots beat the Cougars in double overtime last year.

On Saturday, Victoria needed a win or a tie to advance to the gold medal game. Earlier in the day, the Sockeyes punched their ticket to the finals with a 3-2 win over the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League champion Castlegar Rebels (1-2).

Also scoring for the Cougars, who held period leads of 3-0 and 6-1, were Brandon Egli, Sam Rice, Kelyn Opel, and Jake Stolz.

Tyson Rennie replied for the host Glacier Kings (0-3), who were outshot 33-14.

Victoria set the tone early, scoring on its first shot of the game. Wade Johnson was credited with the goal but it was Egli who put the puck behind starting goaltender Michael Hails 68 seconds in.

Then less than a half a minute later, Steven Garcia dropped the gloves and went after Cougars’ defenseman Rhys Williams at the Comox Valley blue line.

After the dust settled, both players received slashing minors. Still on the hook for additional penalties, Garcia was also assessed two minutes for instigating, five minutes for fighting, and an automatic game misconduct.

Trying to play spoilers, the Glacier Kings were now on the defensive for a full seven minutes.

Victoria managed to sneak two goals behind Hails by the time the power play was over.

From the right face-off circle, Rice beat Hails short side at 3:36 for his first goal of the tournament. Then over a minute later, Opel put the Cougars up by three.

By the time the power play was over, Victoria held a 9-0 shots on goal advantage.

After the goal, Bill Rotheisler called a timeout to settle his team down.

Comox Valley, who received a pair of five-on-three power plays in the period, did not get its first shot on goal until the game was 14 minutes old.

Things did not get easier for the hometown Glacier Kings. With 39.8 seconds remaining in the period, Jack Kennelly was ejected from the game for his hit from behind on Matthew Ho.

Stolz gave the Cougars a 4-0 lead at 2:47 of the second period after his point shot whistled past Hails.

A roughing penalty to Calvin Hadley put Victoria on its fourth power play of the night. At 4:44, Coulter scored his first of two goals with the lone assist credited to Rice.

Playing four aside, Roch had his shutout bid ruined when a sharp angle shot from Rennie eluded him at 7:29.

But less than five minutes later, Coulter restored the Cougars five goal advantage with an unassisted marker.

Hails, who turned aside 22-of-28 shots, was replaced by Bryce DiRocco at the start of the third period. DiRocco stopped all five shots he faced.

Brandon Halls, a rock on the Glacier Kings blue line, was helped off the ice after suffering a lower body injury with 2:38 remaining in regulation.

Victoria went 4-for-11 on the power play; meanwhile, Comox Valley went 0-for-5.

The winner of the gold medal game between the Cougars and Sockeyes will advance to the Keystone Cup held April 17-21 in St. Malo, Manitoba.

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

Kelyn Opel, Wade Johnson (Victoria Cougars)

Patrick Croome, Sasha Hahn (Comox Valley Glacier Kings)

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