by Peter Kung, Photos: Kasey Eriksen
January 12, 2014, Esquimalt (ISN) – It is not how you start but how you finish. In the final two-and-a-half periods of Sunday afternoon’s game, the Victoria Cougars turned the tables on the Nanaimo Buccaneers and just like that, cruised to a 3-0 win in front of 200 at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.
Sunday’s game provided a low-scoring, hard-hitting, entertaining affair.
Buccaneers’ Noah Russi becomes a human shield, helping to keep the puck out of the net. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)
Outshot 9-8 through 20 minutes, Victoria rebounded from being outplayed to dominating and outshooting the Buccaneers 16-2 in the second period and 10-2 in the third for a game total of 34-13.
Cougars’ Connor Beauchamp has his eye on the puck. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)
Just days after the Jan. 10 trade deadline, both teams got to feature their newest acquisitions for the very first time.
A tight battle for the loose puck. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)
The Cougars swung a deal with the Saanich Braves that landed them forward Sam McMullen and defenseman Garett Kemmler. Meanwhile, Nanaimo traded for goaltender Jackson Jane who got the start in net on Sunday.
Mark Walton and Thor Rosback collide against the boards. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)
But Ryan Carson, who scored all three Victoria goals, would go on to steal the spotlight.
Buccaneers’ Thor Rosback tries to intercept the puck. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)
McMullen, who centred Mark Walton and David Marshall, made his presence known early by ringing the puck off the goal post midway through the first period.
A flying puck catches everyone’s attention. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)
Shots on goal favoured the Buccaneers 8-1 at that point.
Nanaimo had a glorious scoring chance four minutes later when the puck took a strange bounce off the side boards catching Connor Beauchamp out of position. But the puck hit the far goal post and stayed out.
Dan Foglietta made a great diving save in the last minute to deny a Blake Roney centering pass from getting through to Wade Johnson. Hurting himself on the play, Foglietta slowly made his way to the Buccaneers dressing room.
Foglietta would later return.
The game remained scoreless until the 4:59 mark of the second period when Carson slid the puck past Jane. Assisting on the goal was Nicholas Bower who made a great rush up ice to start the play.
McMullen had another great scoring chance later in the period but his wrist shot just missed the top corner of the net.
In the late stages of the period, Foglietta blocked two more shots. And with time winding down, Jane robbed Bower from point blank range which drew congratulatory taps on his pads from his new teammates.
There was no scoring until the 13:31 mark of the third period when Carson gobbled up a loose puck and wired it top shelf to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead. Michael Fretz picked up the lone assist.
Carson would go on to score his 16th goal of the season on a great individual rush when he crossed the Nanaimo blue line, turned on the jets, and beat Jane from in close. Assisting on the goal, which was scored at 16:32, were Fretz and Robert Zadra.
Frustration set in as Nick White, who leads the VIJHL in penalty minutes with 173, received a hit-to-the-head penalty and a ten-minute misconduct with two-and-a-half minutes to go in regulation.
Then a minute later, Thor Rosback, Jordan Davie, and Fretz all received coincidental penalties during a melee in front of the Victoria bench.
And at the sound of the buzzer to end the game, David Osborne let go a shot on net drawing the ire of the Cougar players.
Beauchamp, who was pulled in his last start, recorded his league-leading seventh shutout.
Special teams were nothing special. The Cougars went 0-for-5 with the man advantage; meanwhile, Nanaimo went 0-for-3.
Next game for Victoria is Thursday, January 16 against the Oceanside Generals. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
Two hours prior to game time, a key phrase will be released on the Cougars twitter account (@CougarsJuniorB). Repeat that phrase at the door and get in for only $5.
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.
1st star, Ryan Carson (Goals: 3, Assists: 0)
2nd star, Patrick Webb (Goals: 0, Assists: 0)
3rd star, Mark Walton (Goals: 0, Assists: 0)