By Peter Kung
October 25, 2013, ESQUIMALT, B.C. (ISN) – It was home sweet home for the Victoria Cougars. After suffering two road losses last week, Victoria returned home to defeat the Kerry Park Islanders 7-1 in one of two Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League games played Thursday night.
Michael Fretz put on a clinic by recording a goal and four assists. Mark Walton had a goal and two assists while David Marshall scored twice. John Kretzschmar, Marino Somerville, and Mitch Moloney also scored and Graham Zagrodney chipped in with two helpers.
Nathan Hargrave was razor sharp in goal with 28 saves.
But unfortunately for Hargrave, he lost his shutout bid when Francis Lapierre-Slicer scored a shorthanded goal with less than 49 seconds to play in the game.
The Cougars (13-1-0-1) depth was again put to the test and unlike the game against the Nanaimo Buccaneers, this time they passed with flying colours.
Sidelined with injuries were Nicholas Bower, Jordan Davie, Wade Johnson, and Jordan Marciniak. Bower, who was named Kirby’s Source for Sports VIJHL Player of the Week for Oct. 8-14, went under the knife four days ago to repair an upper body injury sustained last game in Nanaimo.
Fretz and Jake Stolz returned from one-game absences; however, Stolz was limited to only a couple of first period shifts before getting shut down for the rest of the night.
Victoria led 3-0 after one period and 4-0 after two.
Kretzschmar, who was playing wing due to a surplus in defensemen and a lack of forwards, opened the scoring at 3:50. Then at 7:32, four seconds after Tylor Branzsen stepped out of the penalty box, Somerville gave the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
From the half wall, Fretz sent a hard pass out to Marshall who beat goalie Leighton Williams for his first of two goals.
Alex Milligan was robbed of a sure goal late in the period when Hargrave went post to post – stopping the Islanders leading scorer with his left pad.
Victoria went up 4-0 on a power play goal by Marshall at the 21 second mark for the only goal of the middle frame.
Four minutes into the third period, Branzsen got free behind the Cougars defense on a breakaway but was stopped by Hargrave.
Goals by Walton and Fretz at 8:59 and 14:39 respectively increased the Cougars lead to 6-0.
Moloney, who was called up by the Cougars as an affiliate player, scored his first VIJHL goal when his slap shot from the point sailed past Williams at 15:08. Then with 48.3 seconds left, Lapierre-Slicer forced a turnover before sliding the puck past Hargrave.
The woes continued for Kerry Park (5-10-0-2) who lost for the fifth time in six games.
Despite allowing seven goals on 35 shots, Williams showed flashes of brilliance with his glove saves.
Victoria went 1-for-6 on the power play; meanwhile, the Islanders went 0-for-1.
In other action around the VIJHL, Lynden Eddy, Lee Orpen and Noah Russi each had a goal and an assist to lead Nanaimo to a 6-4 win over the visiting Oceanside Generals.
Next game for the Cougars is Friday, October 25 against the Peninsula Panthers.
Game time at the Panorama Recreation Centre, located at 1885 Forest Park Drive, is 7:30 p.m.
- 1st star, Michael Fretz (Goals: 1, Assists: 4)
- 2nd star, David Marshall (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)
- 3rd star, Nathan Hargrave (Saves: 28, Save Percentage: .965)