By: Peter Kung
December 6, 2013, ESQUIMALT, B.C. (ISN) – Michael Fretz was in street clothes the last time Victoria faced the Nanaimo Buccaneers. The injured Fretz, along with Jake Stolz, Jordan Davie, Jordan Marciniak, and Liam Carradine, all watched in anguish that night in mid-October as the Cougars dropped a 3-2 decision.
Healthy once again, Fretz on Thursday scored two goals and added one assist as Victoria won the rematch in convincing fashion 8-1.
The Cougars (22-4-1-1), who held period leads of 3-1 and 4-1, scored on three of their first five shots.
In attempts to snap out of an eight-game winless skid, it went from bad to worse for Nanaimo (17-9-2-0) when a delay of game penalty issued before the start of the game put the Cougars on a power play.
Victoria opened the scoring as Fretz notched his first of two goals by beating a surprised Michael Herringer from the half wall at 1:43.
The goal marked the 19th time in 28 games that the Cougars scored first. Victoria is now 15-2-1-1 in those games.
Connor Beauchamp made a great stop off Will McNamara who was left alone in front of the net two minutes later but at 6:37, Garrett Dunlop scored from Nick White to tie the game at 1-1.
Ryan Carson restored the lead for good when his shot went off the crossbar and in at 7:13.
An interference penalty to Lucas Franssen led to a Blake Roney goal at 9:44. From the point, Graham Zagrodney passed the puck to Mark Walton whose shot was stopped by Herringer. But the rebound bounced out to Roney who extended his goal scoring streak to seven games.
Supporters of the Cougars who did not make the trek to Westshore last night got their first glimpse of 18-year-old forward Nyshan Basra. Although the Surrey, B.C. native did not factor in on the scoring, he took a scoring chance away from Thor Rosback after blocking his slap shot.
Victoria, winners of two straight games, managed just five shots in the first period before coming alive in the final 40 minutes.
Penalties to White and Jake Calverley within a span of 45 seconds put the Cougars on a two-man advantage. And at 10:55 of the middle frame, Roney scored his team leading 22nd goal from Zagrodney and Fretz.
There was no scoring until the 4:28 mark of the third period. On another power play, Wade Johnson gave Victoria a 5-1 lead after completing a tic-tac-toe play between him, David Marshall, and Roney.
A fight ensued 20 seconds later between McNamara and Marino Somerville. It was the first fight of the season for both players and for Somerville, it was his first penalty minute in 24 games.
After the dust cleared, McNamara was assessed an additional penalty for boarding.
The Cougars would go on to score their fifth power play goal when Fretz beat Herringer with a shot far side at 6:17.
After the goal, Herringer was pulled after making 18-of-24 saves. His replacement, Ryan Waldhaus, did not fare much better as he allowed two goals on 11 shots.
Carson gave Victoria a 7-1 lead at 12:40 before Marshall rounded out the scoring exactly one minute later.
The Cougars went 5-for-10 on the power play; meanwhile, Nanaimo went 0-for-3.
Beauchamp made 13 saves for the win.
Victoria is 0-3-1-0 when Fretz is not in the lineup.
Nicholas Bower is the last remaining player still on the Cougars injury list.
In Peninsula, Tate Coughlin scored twice and Joey Karrer stopped 17 shots to lead the Panthers to a 4-2 victory over the Saanich Braves.
Next game for Victoria is Sunday, December 8 against the Kerry Park Islanders. Game time at the Kerry Park Recreation Centre, located at 1035 Shawnigan Mill Bay Road, is 3:00 p.m.
1st star, Blake Roney (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Wade Johnson (Goals: 1, Assists: 2)
3rd star, Michael Fretz (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)