by Peter Kung
March 22, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – The 2014 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League Championship Series resumes Sunday night in Victoria.
Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 6:30 p.m.
What was a best-of-7 has now turned into a best-of-5 following the Peninsula Panthers thrilling 5-4 double overtime win over the Victoria Cougars in Game 2 on Friday.
Trailing in the series and on the score board, Peninsula rallied from 3-0 and 4-3 deficits to steal victory away from the Cougars.
After Blake Roney, John Kretzschmar, and Michael Fretz gave Victoria an early three goal lead, Cole Glover, Rylan Ball, and Tylor Branzsen scored within a span of two minutes and 43-seconds in the second period to tie the game.
Although the Cougars regained the lead less than four minutes later on another goal by Roney, a third period equalizer from Sean Buchanan would send the game to extra time.
Then at the 2:24 mark of double overtime, disaster struck for Victoria as goaltender Connor Beauchamp was the victim of a bad bounce. The puck made its way into an unguarded cage after it took a crazy bounce off one of the stanchions along the side boards.
Connor Logan was credited with the game winner.
In Game 1, the Cougars scored six unanswered goals en route to a 7-1 romp on Thursday.
Scoring for Victoria were Fretz (2), Patrick Webb, Jake Stolz, Jordan Marciniak, Wade Johnson, and Sam McMullen.
Alex Milligan replied for the Panthers.
So far in the series, the Cougars have outscored Peninsula 11-6 and hold a 69-62 advantage in the shots-on-goal department.
Fretz leads all Victoria scorers with three goals and two assists while Logan holds the hot hand for the Panthers with a goal and a pair of helpers.
Beauchamp has played every minute in the series. The Nanton, Alberta native has posted a 2.72 goals against average and a .903 save percentage. Meanwhile, Stephen Heslop, who has been given the hook twice this series, owns a G.A.A. of 9.98 and an S.P. of .758. Joey Karrer sports a 2.15 G.A.A. and a .917 S.P. in two relief appearances.
The Cougars have gone 4-for-11 with the man advantage; meanwhile, Peninsula has scored three times on six power play opportunities.
Mark Van Helvoirt and his troops look to continue their success at the A.B.S.C. where they have not lost during the playoffs.
The winner of the VIJHL will advance to the Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament in Nelson, British Columbia, joining the host Nelson Leafs and the champions from both the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and Pacific Junior Hockey League.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Victoria – Eliminated Kerry Park Islanders 4-0. Eliminated Campbell River Storm 4-1. Peninsula – Eliminated Westshore Wolves 4-1. Eliminated Comox Valley Glacier Kings 4-3
TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Sam McMullen, 11 goals; Graham Zagrodney, 14 assists; Sam McMullen, 20 points; Jordan Marciniak, 19 penalty minutes. Peninsula – Alex Milligan, Jackson Skerratt, 7 goals; Rylan Ball, Tylor Branzsen, Connor Logan, 8 assists; Alex Milligan, Rylan Ball, 14 points; Des Bast, 45 penalty minutes
GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Connor Beauchamp (1.76 goals against average, .929 save percentage); Nathan Hargrave (1.86 goals against average, .921 save percentage). Peninsula – Joey Karrer (2.09 goals against average, .918 save percentage); Stephen Heslop (3.16 goals against average; .886 save percentage)
POWER PLAY: Victoria – 21/57, 36.84 percent. Peninsula – 9/80, 11.25 percent
PENALTY KILL: Victoria – 34/42, 80.95 percent. Peninsula – 85/105, 80.95 percent
PAST RESULTS/FUTURE MEETINGS:
- Game 1. March 20, 2014. Peninsula Panthers 1 @ Victoria Cougars 7
- Game 2. March 21, 2014. Victoria Cougars 4 @ Peninsula Panthers 5 (2OT)
- Game 4. March 24, 2014. Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers
- Game 5. March 27, 2014. Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars
- Game 6 (if necessary). March 28, 2014. Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers
- Game 7 (if necessary). March 30, 2014. Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars
HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 6-0-0-0. Away, 3-1-0-1. Peninsula – Home, 5-2-0-0. Away, 4-3-0-0
STREAKS: Victoria, 0-0-0-1. Peninsula, 1-0-0-0