Cougars offense comes to life

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Victoria Cougars_Logo

by Peter Kung

December 20, 2013, ESQUIMALT, B.C. (ISN) – It was just a matter of time before the Victoria Cougars talented offense got their act together. Unfortunately for the Saanich Braves, they were the unwilling beneficiary of the Victoria onslaught.

Jordan Davie, Wade Johnson, Nicholas Bower, and none other than Blake Roney posted three points apiece as the Cougars shredded Saanich 10-1 in one of two Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League games played Thursday night.

It was sweet revenge for Victoria who dropped a 2-0 decision to the Braves six days ago.

Jordan Werezak, who made 22 saves and was named the first star in that game, was torched for three goals on six shots before being pulled in favour of Matthew Rud with 4:01 remaining in the opening period.

The Cougars led 3-0 after one period and 7-0 after two.

Marred in a 1-for-15 slump over the past four games, Victoria’s power play got back on track by scoring four times on six tries.

The Cougars (26-5-1-1) opened the scoring at 3:32 on the power play. Nine seconds after Tom Dakers was sent off the ice for cross-checking, Roney fed a pass through the crease to David Marshall who redirected the puck past Werezak.

Nyshan Basra, who six minutes earlier fired the puck off the crossbar from the top of the faceoff circle, doubled the lead with an unassisted goal at 12:18.

Victoria went ahead 3-0 at 15:59 on a power play goal from Johnson. After misfiring on a pass earlier in the shift, Johnson rang the puck off the iron and in for his ninth goal of the season. Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Scott Henderson who was serving Werezak’s tripping penalty issued to the beleaguered goalie 38 seconds earlier.

After the goal, Werezak was replaced by Rud.

The backup got a rude welcome from Davie who scored five-hole 53 seconds into the second period.

Sam McMullen, who was recently named Kirby’s Source for Source VIJHL Player of the Week, was stymied by the Cougars defensive unit consisting of Nicholas Lyons, Jake Stolz, Patrick Webb, Brandon Workun, Robert Zadra, and Graham Zagrodney.

Stolz was particularly good; standing McMullen up on a two-on-two rush and then knocking him to the ice and then rubbing out the Braves leading scorer along the side boards later in the game.

A penalty to Liam Sproule put Victoria back on the power play. At 3:42, Marino Somerville scored from Robert Zadra and Patrick Webb.

Davie made it 6-0 at 4:13 for his second goal of the contest.

Then one minute and 21-seconds later and not to be outdone, Marshall wired home his second of the game from a sharp angle.

Rud came up big later in the period, flashing the leather on a breakaway attempt by Ryan Carson.

There was no scoring until the 6:58 mark of the third period when Michael Fretz pounced all over a Johnson rebound.

An unassisted goal by Josh Poland at 7:24 ruined Connor Beauchamp’s bid for his seventh shutout of the season. Behind the net, Beauchamp gave the puck away to Poland who scored on a wraparound.

Basra, who was named the game’s second star, scored his second of the contest at 12:35.

A roughing penalty to Jordan Groenheyde on Liam Carradine put Saanich (10-19-1-1) back on the penalty kill. And at 16:28, Bower and Lyons teamed up with Somerville for his second goal of the game.

The Cougars, who managed to score only seven goals in their past four games, Thursday’s outburst was a welcoming relief.

Credited with three assists, Roney now has five goals and five helpers to lead all Victoria scorers against the Braves this season.

The Cougars, who outshot Saanich 8-3 in the first period, 19-5 in the second, and 11-6 in the third for a game total of 38-14, went a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

Beauchamp won his league leading 18th game.

In the Hub City, Mikko Keski-Pukkila scored twice and added an assist to lead the hometown Nanaimo Buccaneers to a 6-2 win over the Campbell River Storm.

Next game for Victoria is Saturday, December 21 against the Westshore Wolves. Game time at Bear Mountain Arena, located at 1767 Island Highway, is 2:00 p.m.

THREE STARS:

1st star, Jordan Davie (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)

2nd star, Nyshan Basra (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)

3rd star, David Marshall (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)

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