VIJHL Championship Series: Game 5 preview

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by Peter Kung

March 25, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – The 2014 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League Championship Series between the Victoria Cougars and Peninsula Panthers resumes this Thursday.

Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.

This best-of-7 series is now deadlocked at two games apiece following a 5-3 Cougars win Monday at the Panorama Recreation Centre.

Blake Roney (2), Wade Johnson, Ryan Carson, and John Kretzschmar lit the lamp for Victoria who scored two unanswered third period goals to seal the deal.

Nathan Hargrave made his first appearance of the series, making 21 saves.

Replying for the Panthers were Tylor Branzsen, Reece Costain, and Tate Coughlin.  After backstopping Peninsula to a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 3, Joey Karrer allowed five goals on 33 shots.

In Game 1, the Cougars scored six unanswered goals en route to a 7-1 romp.

In Game 2, Connor Logan scored at 2:24 of double overtime to lift the Panthers to a 5-4 come-from-behind win.

And in Game 3, Branzsen notched a hat trick, including the game winner at 1:20 of extra time, in a 3-2 Peninsula victory.

So far in the series, Victoria has outscored the Panthers 18-12 and maintains a 132-107 advantage in the shots on goal department.

Fretz leads all Cougars scorers with four goals and four assists while Branzsen holds the hot hand for Peninsula with five goals and one helper.

All four goaltenders have seen action this series.

For Victoria, Connor Beauchamp has posted a 2.79 goals against average and a .892 save percentage.  Hargrave has a 3.00 G.A.A. and a .875 S.P. in his only appearance.  Meanwhile for the Panthers, Karrer sports a 2.96 G.A.A. and a .899 S.P. while Stephen Heslop, who was given the hook in both Games 1 and 2, owns a 9.98 G.A.A. and a .758 S.P.

The Cougars have gone 7-for-21 with the man advantage; meanwhile, Peninsula has scored four times on 12 power play opportunities.

The winner of this series 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 – Blake Roney, Sam McMullen, 11 goals; Graham Zagrodney, 16 assists; Blake Roney, Michael Fretz, 21 points; Jordan Marciniak, 19 penalty minutes.  Peninsula – Tylor Branzsen, Alex Milligan, Jackson Skerratt, 7 goals; Rylan Ball, 11 assists; Rylan Ball, 17 points; Des Bast, 47 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS:  Victoria – Connor Beauchamp (1.89 goals against average, .923 save percentage); Nathan Hargrave (2.17 goals against average, .908 save percentage).  Peninsula – Joey Karrer (2.74 goals against average, .903 save percentage); Stephen Heslop (3.16 goals against average; .886 save percentage)

POWER PLAY:  Victoria – 24/67, 35.82 percent.  Peninsula – 10/86, 11.63 percent

PENALTY KILL:  Victoria – 39/48 81.25 percent.  Peninsula – 92/115, 80.00 percent


  • Game 1.  March 20, 2014.  Peninsula Panthers 1 @ Victoria Cougars 7
  • Game 2.  March 21, 2014.  Victoria Cougars 4 @ Peninsula Panthers 5 (2OT)
  • Game 3.  March 23, 2014.  Peninsula Panthers 3 @ Victoria Cougars 2 (OT)
  • Game 4.  March 24, 2014.  Victoria Cougars 5 @ Peninsula Panthers 3
  • Game 6.  March 28, 2014.  Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers
  • Game 7 (if necessary).  March 30, 2014.  Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars

HOME/AWAY RECORDS:  Victoria – Home, 6-0-0-1.  Away, 4-1-0-1.  Peninsula – Home, 5-3-0-0.  Away, 5-3-0-0

STREAKS:  Victoria, 1-0-0-0.  Peninsula, 0-1-0-0