(ISN) – ESQUIMALT, B.C. – John Kretzschmar was a force to be reckoned with on Thursday night.
After doling out two punishing first period hits, Kretzschmar went on to score a pair of goals to lead the Victoria Cougars to a 5-2 win over the Oceanside Generals.
The six-foot, 185-pound power forward also added an assist for his second three-point game of the season. Kretzschmar recorded a goal and two helpers back on September 4.
Also scoring for Victoria, who led 3-1 after one period and 5-2 after two, were Robert Zadra, Michael Fretz, and Nick Lyons.
Oceanside appeared to open the scoring two minutes in when Joshua Carless-Jones twinkled the twine with a long range slap shot. But the goal was waived off due to an offside.
The Cougars (13-2-1-0) got off to another hot start as Zadra extended his point streak to 15 games just 5:09 in to give Victoria the lead.
After Keagan Fedorko could not keep the puck onside at the Cougars blue line, Zadra dashed away with Chandler Bruyckere right on his tail. Shrugging off the back-checking, Zadra managed to flip the puck over Joakim Jutras for his eighth goal and team leading 26th point of the year.
Kretzschmar doubled the Victoria lead at 15:03 before a goal from Kyle Wade cut the deficit in half only 48 seconds later.
Restoring the Cougars two-goal lead was Fretz who scored on a breakaway at 16:42.
All within the first half of the period, Kretzschmar set the tone early by wallpapering Fedorko into the end boards and then almost sending David Biagioni into the Oceanside bench.
Kretzschmar gave Victoria a 4-1 lead at the 59-second mark of the second period after converting an Aiden Silzer-Hooker rebound into a goal.
Oceanside (2-15-1-0) again cut the lead in half, this time by PJ Heger at 3:22. Heger, who hails from Traverse City, Michigan, would extend his point streak to three games.
There was no scoring until the 15:20 mark when Lyons fired the puck past Jutras from a sharp angle. Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Fedorko who had all but six seconds remaining in his roughing penalty.
Victoria, whose power play went 1-for-5, ran into a whole whack of trouble in the third period after penalties to Wade Johnson and Silzer-Hooker gave the Generals a two-man advantage for one minute and 17-seconds. But the penalty killing trio consisting of Jake Stolz, Ryan Buse, and Sam McMullen did a good job by keeping the puck outside the perimeter.
Oceanside went 0-for-7 on the power play.
With the win, the Cougars moved into a first place tie with the Westshore Wolves for first place in the South Island Division. However, Victoria has three games in hand on the Wolves.
Getting the start in net for the Cougars was Grant Payne who made 15 saves for his seventh win of the season.
Jutras, who was named the game’s second star, turned aside 49-of-54 shots in a losing effort.
Nico Somerville, who was called up from the North Island Silvertips of the Major Midget League, was in the lineup for Victoria. The fifteen-year-old defenseman was at his finest when he stood up Jacob Longmore during a Generals rush.
In Nanaimo, Nathan Browne and Connor Logan recorded a goal and an assist apiece as the Campbell River Storm squeaked past the hometown Buccaneers 4-3.
Next game for the Cougars is Wednesday, November 5 against the Saanich Braves. Game time at the George R. Pearkes Community Recreation Centre, located at 3100 Tillicum Road, is 7:30 p.m.
1st star, John Kretzschmar (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Joakim Jutras (Saves: 49, Save Percentage: .907)
3rd star, Aiden Silzer-Hooker (Goals: 0, Assists: 3)