Game Preview: Braves vs Cougars

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Victoria Cougars_Logo

November 19, 2013, Victoria (ISN) – The Victoria Cougars (17-3-1-1) begin a home-and-home series with the Saanich Braves (7-12-1-1) this Thursday. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.

Both the Cougars and Braves will meet again on Friday in Saanich. Victoria is coming off a successful week which included a thrilling 5-3 come-from-behind win against the Westshore Wolves, a 4-1 win over the upstart Kerry Park Islanders, and a 5-0 shutout win versus the Oceanside Generals.

Blake Roney returned to the Cougars lineup after missing four games with an undisclosed injury.  The Black Diamond, Alberta native was on the ice for Saturday’s road game against Oceanside.  Roney made a triumphant return by leading the way with two goals.

For Roney, he extended his point streak to six games which dates back to before his injury. Also scoring for Victoria, who outshot the Generals 37-12 overall, were Graham Zagrodney, Cam MacKay, and Jake Stolz.  With a pair of assists to go along with his first period goal, Zagrodney moved into sole possession of tenth place in league scoring with 30 points.

Connor Beauchamp recorded his 12th win and league-leading sixth shutout on Saturday. On the injury front, Mark Walton, Nicholas Bower, Jordan Davie, and Nick Lyons continue to be sidelined.

David Marshall is on a six-game point streak while Zagrodney has points in his last four games.  With points in his last three contests is Wade Johnson. What a difference a year makes. After posting 30 wins and making it as far as the South Island Division Finals last year, Saanich is well off that pace this year.  If the regular season were to end today, the Braves would become the No. 4 seed in the North Island Division.

As a result, Oceanside would be eliminated from playoff contention for finishing the regular season with the least amount of points. But that is not for another three months if everything remains the same.

With five of their top scorers from last year graduated or moved on to play Junior A, Saanich is one of only two teams left in the nine-team Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League who does not have a player that has scored ten or more goals.  The Generals is the other team. Sam McMullen leads the Braves offensively with nine goals. 

And despite a five-game losing streak, which got extended following a 5-3 loss to the Islanders last Saturday, Saanich is still in the thick of things. The Braves currently sit four points back of Kerry Park and five points back of Westshore.  Brad Cook and his crew have three games in hand on both of those teams.

Jordan Werezak returned between the pipes Saturday after missing the three previous games with an undisclosed injury. A better team on the road than at home, Saanich is 5-5-0-0 playing away from the George R. Pearkes Community Recreation Centre and a dismal 2-7-1-1 there.

STANDINGS:  Victoria – 1st place, 36 points, South Island Division.  Saanich – 5th place, 16 points, South Island Division

OFFENSE:  Victoria – 1st place, 4.86 goals for per game.  Saanich – 8th place, 2.67 goals for per game

DEFENSE:  Victoria – 1st place, 2.05 goals against per game.  Saanich – 6th place, 3.95 goals against per game

TEAM LEADERS:  Victoria – David Marshall, 14 goals; Graham Zagrodney, 25 assists; Graham Zagrodney, 30 points; Jake Daughtry, 46 penalty minutes.  Saanich – Sam McMullen, 9 goals; Sam McMullen, Garett Kemmler, 15 assists; Sam McMullen, 24 points; Tom Dakers, 74 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS:  Victoria – Nathan Hargrave (1.97 goals against average, .918 save percentage); Connor Beauchamp (1.98 goals against average, .919 save percentage).  Saanich – Jordan Werezak (3.62 goals against average, .896 save percentage); Matthew Rud (4.04 goals against average, .896 save percentage)

POWER PLAY:  Victoria – 1st place, 41-for-151, 27.15 percent.  Saanich – 7th place, 18-for-133, 13.53 percent

PENALTY KILL:  Victoria – 2nd place, 98-for-109, 89.91 percent.  Saanich – 5th place, 97-for-118, 82.20 percent

SEASON SERIES:  Victoria leads, 3-0-0-0

PAST RESULTS/FUTURE MEETINGS:

  • September 13, 2013.  Victoria Cougars 3 @ Saanich Braves 2
  • September 19, 2013.  Saanich Braves 1 @ Victoria Cougars 5
  • October 10, 2013.  Saanich Braves 1 @ Victoria Cougars 3
  • November 22, 2013.  Victoria Cougars @ Saanich Braves
  • December 13, 2013.  Victoria Cougars @ Saanich Braves
  • December 19, 2013.  Saanich Braves @ Victoria Cougars
  • January 24, 2014.  Victoria Cougars @ Saanich Braves

HOME/AWAY RECORDS:  Victoria – Home, 10-1-0-0.  Saanich – Away, 5-5-0-0

STREAKS:  Victoria, W3.  Saanich, L5

LAST TEN:  Victoria, 6-3-1-0.  Saanich, 2-6-1-1

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