Victoria has a 2-0 lead in their first-round best-of-seven series

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Victoria Cougars_Logo

by Peter Kung

February 23, 2014, MILL BAY, B.C. (ISN) – Sam McMullen scored twice and Connor Beauchamp stopped all 14 shots he faced as the Victoria Cougars blanked the Kerry Park Islanders 6-0 in one of three Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoff games on tap Saturday night.

The win gives Victoria a 2-0 lead in their first-round best-of-seven series.

Cougars’ head coach Mark Van Helvoirt had to juggle his lineup to compensate for the loss of defenseman Patrick Webb who sustained an undisclosed injury in Game 1.

Webb posted a season-high five points in that game.

Used on occasion as a forward throughout the regular season, John Kretzschmar returned to his natural position along the blue line.

Prior to the game, Islanders’ goaltender Leighton Williams was awarded with one of nine Bob Saunders Community Leadership Awards. The festive mood though was short-lived after Williams allowed six goals on 57 shots.

Both teams came out hitting in the early going.

Robert Zadra wallpapered David Bittner along the side boards in a battle of cruiserweights. Then a minute later, Adam Page knocked down Marino Somerville near the player benches.

Kerry Park received bad news at the 6:46 mark of the opening period when Nick Kean, who was part of a four-player deal which sent Alex Milligan and Taylor Branzsen to the Peninsula Panthers, left the game with an apparent upper body injury.

Kean did not return.

25 seconds after the injury, Liam Carradine got the Cougars on the board with an unassisted goal.

Just two days after scoring five first period goals and outshooting the Islanders 23-3 during that span, Victoria on Saturday clung to a narrow 1-0 lead and held a 13-8 shots on goal advantage through 20 minutes.

But when the Cougars stepped back out onto the ice following the first intermission, the second and third periods were a completely different story. Victoria would go on to score two goals in the second period and three more in the third.

Weaving through the Kerry Park defense, Zadra wired a shot past an unsuspecting Williams at 1:03 to give the Cougars a two goal lead.

Jamie Jensen was sent to the sin bin at 4:21 for hooking Ryan Carson. And with 13 seconds remaining in the penalty, Somerville fed a pass over to Carson who scored his second goal in as many games.

Outshot 24-3 in the period, the Islanders again found a hard time generating any type of scoring chances against a stingy Victoria defense which allowed only 92 goals in 48 regular season games.

Unable to keep pace with the high-flying Cougars, frustrations began to mount for Kerry Park in the third period.

Back-to-back power play goals from McMullen at 2:50 and 12:25 respectively put Victoria up 5-0.

Williams, who was pulled in Game 1 after allowing nine goals through 40 minutes, received a slashing penalty late in the game. And with 1:58 remaining in regulation, Somerville rounded out the scoring from Jordan Marciniak and Graham Zagrodney.

Victoria went 4-for-7 on the power play while the Islanders failed to score on four chances with the man advantage.

J.T. Ward was kept busy. The Cougars’ athletic trainer went out onto the ice to attend to Kean during the first period and then attended to an unidentified Kerry Park player in the final frame after he was bulldozed over by Carradine.

Victoria has outscored the Islanders 16-1 and has outshot them 113-24 through the first two games.

In Courtenay, Liam Shaw notched a pair of goals to lead the Comox Valley Glacier Kings to a 5-1 victory over the Saanich Braves.

And in Colwood, Reece Costain scored the game winner with just over three minutes remaining in regulation to propel the Peninsula Panthers past the Westshore Wolves 5-4.

Both Comox Valley and Peninsula are one win away from advancing to the second round of the 2014 VIJHL playoffs.

Game 3 of the Cougars/Islanders series goes Sunday, February 23. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 3:30 p.m.

Sunday’s game can also be viewed online at www.fasthockey.com. Join play-by-play announcer Jordan Smith and colour analyst Tom Arlidge for all the live action beginning at 3:15 p.m. with the pregame show.

THREE STARS:

1st star, Sam McMullen (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)

2nd star, Jordan Marciniak (Goals: 0, Assists: 1)

3rd star, Jordan Coyne (Goals: 0, Assists: 0)

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