By Peter Kung, Cougars Media
September 6, 2013, Victoria, BC – The Victoria Cougars kicked off the 2013-14 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League campaign with a bang. Nicholas Bower and Michael Fretz scored two goals apiece, and Mark Walton and Graham Zagrodney each added a pair of assists, as Victoria doubled up on the visiting Comox Valley Glacier Kings 6-3 in the season opener for both teams on Thursday night.
The Cougars never trailed; leading 1-0 after one period and 4-1 after two.
Fretz, who scored 34 goals for the Oceanside Generals last year, started things off early for Victoria.
After Calvin Hadley was fingered for hooking, the Cougars power play went to work for the very first time.
Fretz beat starting goaltender Bryce Di Rocco down low off a pass by Walton 62 seconds in.
Victoria got lucky in the opening minute of the second period when Duncan Pernal fired the puck over the net after creating a turnover for himself.
That missed opportunity would come back to haunt the Glacier Kings when at 2:33, David Marshall made it 2-0 after his snap shot from just inside the blue line eluded Di Rocco.
Connor Beauchamp got the start in net for the Cougars and looked very solid. The former Castlegar Rebels goalie robbed Jordan Crisp twice from in close and then turned aside the ever-dangerous Wade Bartlett a minute later.
But all good things would come to an end when Ali Gotmy drove to the net and banged home a Grant Iles rebound at 14:12 to cut the deficit to one.
There would be no scoring until the 19:08 mark when a slap shot from the point off the stick of Bower handcuffed Di Rocco.
After the goal, Di Rocco was replaced by Matt BoWell.
But the 17-year-old product of the Comox Valley Minor Hockey Association did not fare much better. 14 seconds after the home side made it 3-1, Fretz teamed up with Walton and Bower for his second goal of the night.
After allowing three goals on 24 shots, Di Rocco was back in net to start the third period.
Pernal, who earlier missed a golden opportunity, scored 39 seconds in to make it a 4-2 game.
But at 4:47, Victoria increased its lead when Jordan Davie converted a Jacob Daughtry pass into a goal for his first marker of the season.
Comox Valley received a lengthy two man advantage when Jordan Law and Patrick Webb were penalized 17 seconds apart but were unable to penetrate the Cougars penalty kill.
However, one second after the penalty to Webb expired; Jonas Harvath cut the lead to 5-3 at 8:10.
Victoria would receive a two man advantage of their own for one minute and 19-seconds. And unlike their counterpart, the Cougars were successful in scoring.
With eight seconds remaining in the initial penalty to Cody Eliason, Bower fired a one-timer past Di Rocco.
Victoria, who went 2-for-5 with the man advantage and 9-for-9 on the penalty kill, outshot the Glacier Kings 37-29.
Fretz continues to be a Comox Valley killer. Versus the Glacier Kings last year, the Snohomish, Wash. native amassed ten goals and three assists for 13 points in eight regular season games.
Former Cougars great Brody Coulter was in attendance.
Next game for Victoria is Sunday, September 8 against the Westshore Wolves. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 3:30 p.m.
1st star, Nicholas Bower (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Graham Zagrodney (Goals: 0, Assists: 2)
3rd star, Jacob Daughtry (Goals: 0, Assists: 1)