It was almost déjà vu all over again for the Victoria Cougars.

Victoria Cougars_Logo

by Peter Kung

March 25, 2014, NORTH SAANICH, B.C. (ISN) – After jumping out to a three-goal first period lead, the Peninsula Panthers awoke from the dead to tie the game before Victoria scored two unanswered goals to secure a 5-3 win on Monday night.

Blake Roney led the attack with two goals and one assist. Also scoring for the Cougars, who did not want a repeat of Game 2, were Wade Johnson, Ryan Carson, and John Kretzschmar.

Johnson also chipped in with a pair of helpers.

With the win, the VIJHL Championship Series is now tied up at two games apiece with Game 5 taking place Thursday in Victoria.

Tylor Branzsen, Reece Costain, and Tate Coughlin replied in a losing cause.

The Cougars opened the scoring at 12:48 on a power play when Johnson took a cross-ice feed from Roney and ripped a shot past Joey Karrer. Watching from the penalty box at the time of the goal was Alex Milligan who had just 26 seconds left in his cross-checking penalty.

Carson doubled the lead at 15:16 after lifting the puck over Karrer who was doing an impersonation of a snow angel in his goal crease.

Victoria went ahead 3-0 on an individual effort from Roney. After getting wallpapered into the boards by Connor Logan, Roney picked himself up, got hold of a loose puck, cut towards the net and beat Karrer with a nifty move.

Looking to take a stranglehold in the series, Peninsula began chipping away at the lead midway through the second period.

Branzsen was the first to cut into the deficit, taking a drop pass at 7:59 from Grayson Vickers before backhanding the puck over the right shoulder of Nathan Hargrave.

A tripping penalty to Nicholas Lyons just over a minute later put the Panthers on their second power play of the game. And with the penalty to Lyons not even half over; Costain pounced on a Matthew Sheeran rebound to pull Peninsula to within a goal at 9:53.

There was no scoring until the 5:12 mark of the third period when Coughlin, a signed prospect of the Kelowna Rockets, tied the game after beating Hargrave blocker side from the slot.

After the goal, a dark cloud formed as the large contingent of Victoria fans in attendance began to shudder. In Game 2, the Panthers rallied from 3-0 and 4-3 deficits to beat the Cougars 5-4 in double overtime.

But the shuddering soon subsided as the energy line of Liam Carradine, Jordan Marciniak, and Kretzschmar put the Cougars ahead for good 43 seconds later.

Then with five minutes and 26-seconds remaining in regulation, Roney capped off a pretty passing play from Johnson and Graham Zagrodney.

The Panthers pulled Karrer for an extra attacker with less than two minutes to play but to no avail.

Shots on goal favoured Victoria 33-24.

The Cougars went 2-for-6 with the man advantage; meanwhile, Peninsula went 1-for-4.

As mentioned, Game 5 goes Thursday, March 27. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.


1st star, Blake Roney (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)

2nd star, Tylor Branzsen (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)

3rd star, Nathan Hargrave (Saves: 21, Save Percentage: .875)

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