Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
September 10, 2014, Victoria , BC (ISN) – The Westshore Wolves overcame an early third-period 4-1 deficit, scoring three third period goals and then getting the winner from Cory Hatcher with 14.7 seconds left in the first overtime to defeat the Saanich Braves 5-4 Wednesday night in VIJHL action at The Q Centre in Victoria.
Saanich’s Conner Allen (left) tries to get past Wolves defender Drayson Pears in second period action Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For 40 minutes and 34 seconds the Braves did everything right. Buoyed by the return of forwards Hunter Atchison and Nyshan Basra (returning from Jr. A camps) and the season debuts of Cam Mackay and defenceman Kyle Schnettler (who were both out with early season injuries), the Braves outplayed the Wolves over the first two periods and took a 3-1 lead into the third.
Fortunately for Saanich goaltender Nick Dueck and defender Kyle Schnettler, this first period chance by the Wolves Jacob Malloch would go wide of the net (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Scoring for the Braves were Mackenzie Valentine (on a first period powerplay), newcomer Kyle Smeding, who wristed a pretty, second period laser beam past the glove of Wolves starter Riley Welyk, and Scott Henderson, with a tip-in from the slot late in the second. Kyle Richter replied for the Wolves in the first.
Saanich’s Scott Henderson (right) would be one of the Braves goal scorers in the losing effort (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Braves would extend their lead to 4-1 on a powerplay goal from Evan Horvath just 34 seconds into the third frame, the 4 goals marking the most the Braves have scored in a game since a 4-3 win over Kerry Park on January 3, 2014, conincidentally, the last time the Braves posted a win in either the regular season or playoffs.
In his very first game as a Brave, Kyle Smeding would rip home this wrist shot to give the Braves a 2-1 second period lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Perhaps the thought of erasing that long losing streak jumped into the Braves minds just a bit too early, as following the Horvath goal, the Braves suddenly seemed to stop playing and they sat back and watched the Wolves dominate the third period.
It started with Brett Lervold scoring just 16 seconds after the Horvath goal and then continued just two minutes later when Drayson Pears floated one in from the point past Braves starter Nick Dueck.
Kyle Richter would score the first goal of the evening for the Wolves (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
While the Braves settled things down a bit after a time out, the Wolves continued to dominate, ultimately outshooting the Braves 16-9 for the period, and at 16:25, Tyler Smith would cut across the blue line and fire a wrister past Dueck to tie tie the game up and send it to OT.
Saanich’s Hunter Atchison goes on the attack in the third period Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In the OT, both teams had some early chances, but it would be the Wolves who would finish it off late, with Hatcher taking a nice feed from Kayle Ramsay and banging it past Dueck to give the Wolves the exciting win and pushing their early season record to 3-0, good enough for first place in the South Division at the moment.
Saanich’s Evan Horvath is brought down on this second period rush by the Wolves Kayle Ramsay (left) and Nicholas Polomark (right) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Braves fall to 0-2 and their regular season losing streak continues, with the team now having lost 15 games in a row dating back to that last win over Kerry Park in January.
It does not get any easier for the Braves this week, as they have to face the Cougars again tomorrow night at Archie Browning and hope to avenge the 9-0 loss suffered there last week, and then they open at home Friday against this same Wolves squad at Pearkes Arena. Game time at Pearkes is 6:30 pm.
Saanich’s Evan Badry (left) and Hunter Atchison (right) exchange first period pleasantries with Westshore’s Jordan Martin (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: Saanich forward Dayne Ellison was not in the line-up as he served the second of a 3-game suspension for a pre-season fight. He will return for Friday’s home opener. Also not dressed were Quinn Miller and Mike Affleck. Newcomer Kyle Smeding is out of the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association.