Panthers win 5-4 over Cougars, evening the series

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Victoria Cougars_Logo

by Peter Kung

March 22, 2014, NORTH SAANICH, B.C. (ISN) – Connor Logan scored at 2:24 of double overtime to lift the Peninsula Panthers to a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Victoria Cougars on Friday night.

Instead of Victoria bringing home a 2-0 series lead, the VIJHL Championship Series now stands at 1-1.

After jumping out to an early 3-0 advantage, the wheels fell off for the Cougars in the second period when Peninsula scored three goals in a span of two minutes and 43-seconds to even things up.

Victoria would regain the lead less than four minutes later only to have the hometown Panthers tie the game with the only goal of the third period.

Fresh off a 7-1 win in Game 1, the Cougars roared out of the gates with a quick goal 18 seconds in. From behind the Peninsula net, Sam McMullen centered the puck out to Blake Roney who fired it past starting goaltender Stephen Heslop.

Victoria doubled its lead at 5:48 on a goal from John Kretzschmar.

After the goal, Panthers’ head coach Brian Passmore called a timeout.

The timeout proved futile as Michael Fretz increased the lead to 3-0 after one-timing a pass from Graham Zagrodney at 8:11.

Having seen enough, Passmore gave Heslop the hook for the second game in a row. The six-foot-one, 165-pound net minder allowed three goals on six shots before trading place with Joey Karrer on the bench.

Cole Glover, the hero in Game 7 of the Comox Valley Glacier Kings series, cut the lead by a third at the 41 second mark of the second period.

Penalties three seconds apart to David Marshall and Garett Kemmler put Peninsula on a two man advantage. And with both Marshall and Kemmler looking on, Rylan Ball made it 3-2 at 2:44 with a bullet from the slot.

Then 40 seconds later, Tylor Branzsen tipped home a Cody Breitenstein point shot past Connor Beauchamp for another power play goal.

All of a sudden it was a tie game.

The Panthers ran into penalty trouble of their own as well. With Reece Costain and Alex Milligan in the sin bin, Roney wired a back door one-timer past Karrer at 7:06.

Too good to be a backup, Karrer stopped McMullen on a breakaway with one minute and 33-seconds remaining in the middle frame.

There was no scoring until the 4:42 mark of the third period when a shot from Sean Buchanan squirted between the pads of Beauchamp and in. The goal came with the man advantage.

Late in the period, Beauchamp bailed his teammates out by robbing Glover from in close and Milligan from a sharp angle.

Both Victoria and Peninsula did not hold anything back in the first overtime period as both teams combined for 14 shots.

Then at the 2:24 mark of double overtime, disaster struck for the Cougars as Beauchamp was the victim of a bad bounce. The puck made its way into an unguarded cage after it took a crazy bounce off the one of the stanchions along the side boards.

Beauchamp stopped 34 shots; meanwhile, Karrer made 25 saves for the win.

Victoria went 2-for-6 on the power play and a dismal 2-for-5 on the penalty kill.

Game 3 goes Sunday, March 23. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 6:30 p.m.

THREE STARS:

1st star, Connor Logan (Goals: 1, Assists: 2)

2nd star, Joey Karrer (Saves: 25, Save Percentage: .962)

3rd star, Rylan Ball (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)

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