by Peter Kung
January 12, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – The Victoria Cougars (27-8-1-1) host the Nanaimo Buccaneers (21-13-2-1) this afternoon. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 3:30 p.m.
Both teams will be trying to get back in the win column following setbacks in their most recent games.
Victoria, who dropped a 3-1 decision to the Peninsula Panthers on Friday, lost for the fourth time in its last seven games. More shockingly, three of those four losses came by the way of shut outs.
With the offense struggling and the Campbell River Storm and Peninsula adding key pieces to their lineup, the Cougars made waves by completing a blockbuster deal of their own at the Jan. 10 trade deadline.
Victoria dealt 20-year-old forward Jake Daughtry, 18-year-old forward Nyshan Basra, and future considerations to the Saanich Braves in exchange for forward Sam McMullen and defenseman Garett Kemmler.
McMullen had 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points in 29 games for Saanich this season. In 173 career games, both regular season and post season, the six-foot-one, 170-pound 19-year-old amassed 64 goals and 76 assists for 140 points.
Meanwhile, Kemmler is the reigning Jack Kingston Memorial Trophy winner. Named the VIJHL’s top defenseman last year, the five-foot-eight, 165-pound 20-year-old had had three goals and 18 assists for 21 points in 27 games before the trade to the Cougars. In his two-year career with Saanich, Kemmler posted six goals and 47 assists for 53 points in 79 games.
Both McMullen and Kemmler will be in this afternoon’s lineup.
The last time Nanaimo and Victoria met, the Buccaneers were in sole possession of first place in the North Island Division. Since their 8-1 loss to the Cougars on Dec. 5, Nanaimo has gone 4-4-0-1 and currently sits five points back of Campbell River for first place.
Things could not have gotten any worse for the Buccaneers who were outscored 18-4 in back-to-back games against the Storm. Brad Knight and his troops dropped a 7-1 decision in Campbell River on Jan. 3 before losing 11-3 at home last Thursday.
Nanaimo made a trade at the Jan. 10 trade deadline by dealing 17-year-old Michael Herringer to the Kerry Park Islanders in exchange for 20-year-old Jackson Jane in a swap of goaltenders.
Jane has 91 games of experience.
Former Cougars forward Garrett Brandsma returns to the VIJHL as a Buccaneer. Brandsma scored two goals in his first game last Thursday.
Today’s promotion: The first 50 adult, senior, or student with paid admission will receive a voucher for a free bag of delicious popcorn at the concession.
In addition, the 50/50 will feature 11 additional bonus draws. EVERY Cougars home game between now and the end of the regular season will feature a promotion and EVERY game will also feature bonus 50/50 prizes.
STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 56 points, South Island Division. Nanaimo – T2nd place, 45 points, North Island Division
OFFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 4.59 goals for per game. Nanaimo – 5th place, 3.73 goals for per game
DEFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 1.89 goals against per game. Nanaimo – 4th place, 3.32 goals against per game
TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Blake Roney, 24 goals; Graham Zagrodney, 40 assists; Blake Roney, 46 points; David Marshall, Robert Zadra, 40 penalty minutes. Nanaimo – Garrett Dunlop, 22 goals; Garrett Dunlop, 31 assists; Garrett Dunlop, 53 points; Nick White, 159 penalty minutes
GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Nathan Hargrave (1.67 goals against average, .925 save percentage); Connor Beauchamp (1.96 goals against average, .913 save percentage). Nanaimo – Ryan Waldhaus (2.69 goals against average, .907 save percentage); Jackson Jane (4.50 goals against average, .893 save percentage)
POWER PLAY: Victoria – 1st place, 62-for-238, 26.05 percent. Nanaimo – 3rd place, 37-for-198, 18.69 percent
PENALTY KILL: Victoria – 1st place, 161-for-178, 90.45 percent. Nanaimo – 4th pace, 177-for-212, 83.49 percent
SEASON SERIES: Series tied, 1-1-0-0
PAST RESULTS/FUTURE MEETINGS:
October 17, 2013. Victoria Cougars 2 @ Nanaimo Buccaneers 3
December 5, 2013. Nanaimo Buccaneers 8 @ Victoria Cougars 1
January 25, 2014. Victoria Cougars @ Nanaimo Buccaneers
HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 17-1-0-0. Nanaimo – Away, 10-7-1-1
STREAKS: Victoria, 0-1-0-0. Nanaimo, 0-2-0-0
LAST TEN: Victoria, 6-4-0-0. Nanaimo, 4-5-0-1