Close-call for the Victoria Cougars


By Peter Kung

September 14, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – After scoring the go ahead goal off a turnover midway through the third period, Victoria then withstood last minute pressure from the hometown Saanich Braves before coming away with a 3-2 win on Friday.

Ryan Carson played the hero after he beat goaltender Jordan Werezak with a well-placed backhander.

It was the second barnburner in a row for Mark Van Helvoirt and his troops. Last night, Mark Walton scored seven seconds into double overtime as Victoria downed the Peninsula Panthers 6-5.

Friday’s win improved the Cougars record to 4-0-0-0 and is now one of only two undefeated teams in the nine-team Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. The Nanaimo Buccaneers is the other undefeated team.

Connor Beauchamp got the start in net for Victoria and looked good.

But it would be the Braves who would draw first blood.

On a delayed penalty and with 2:28 remaining in the opening period, Garett Kemmler passed the puck over to a wide open Hunter Atchison who had gotten in behind the Cougars defense for his third goal in as many games.

The score remained 1-0 in favour of Saanich until the 4:25 mark of the middle frame when Friday the 13th reared its ugly head on Jordan Groenheyde.

After Werezak steered the puck to his defenseman off a shot on goal, Groenheyde misplayed the puck to Jake Daughtry who centered it to Blake Roney for his league leading fifth goal.

Walton, on the powerplay, would give Victoria a 2-1 lead ten minutes later when he fired home a loose puck during a mad scramble in front of Werezak.

The Braves came oh so close to tying the game late in the period only to have Atchison denied by Beauchamp from close range.

Nick Guerra tied the game at 7:38 of the third period when his wrist shot from the slot beat Beauchamp. Michael Fretz, who had his three game point streak snapped, was in the penalty box at the time of the goal.

Then came Carson’s heroics at 9:12.

Atchison, an early favourite to win the Larry Lamoureaux Trophy, rang the puck off the iron with nine minutes remaining.

And despite pouring on the pressure and Werezak pulled for an extra attacker, Saanich could not tally the equalizer.

Beauchamp held down the fort, stopping 11-of-12 shots in the third period. The Nanton, Alta. native finished with 29 saves.

Equally as good, Werezak turned aside 35 shots.

Victoria went 1-for-8 on the powerplay and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.

The loss dropped the Braves record to 2-1-0-0.

In other games around the V.I.J.H.L.: Kerry Park Islanders 6, Campbell River Storm 4; Comox Valley Glacier Kings 7, Oceanside Generals 6; Peninsula Panthers 7, Westshore Wolves 4.

Next game for the Cougars is Thursday, September 19 against Saanich. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.


Scott Harrigan
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