(ISN) – ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Sam McMullen scored twice and set up four more as the Victoria Cougars walloped the Westshore Wolves 9-1 in one of two Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League games played on Thursday.
The win moves Victoria, who improves to 16-2-1-0 on the season, back into first place in the South Island Division.
Thanks to his six-point performance, McMullen leapfrogged over Kyle Richter to take over the league lead in scoring with 32 points. Richter was held in check all night by a suffocating and physical Cougars defense.
Ryan Carson (2), Ryan Vorster, Robert Zadra, Nick Lyons, Wade Johnson, and Lane Van de Wetering also scored for Victoria who beat the Wolves for the second time in three tries this season.
Replying in a losing cause was Spencer Preece.
The two teams also traded punches which led to 174 combined penalty minutes doled out by referee Jonah Lochapelle. A third period brawl ended with Jake Stolz, McMullen, and Vorster of the Cougars and Jonathon Bond, Nicolas Polomark, and Preece of Westshore spending the rest of the game in their respective dressing rooms.
Vorster opened the scoring on a power play when his point shot beat Riley Welyk low glove side at 3:07. Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Richter who had served all but eight seconds in his tripping penalty.
Victoria doubled its lead at 5:16 on a goal by McMullen.
A boarding penalty to Stolz put the Wolves on a man advantage. After getting robbed twice by Anthony Ciurro, it was three times a charm for Preece who cut the deficit in half at 9:21.
Despite the goal, Ciurro was sensational in his third straight start. While allowing only two goals in those three games, the Peoria, Arizona native lowered his league-leading goals against average to 1.46 and raised his league-leading save percentage to .929.
Corey Peterson of Westshore had his four-game point streak come to a screeching halt after he was assessed a game misconduct at 11:30 when he checked Zadra into the boards from behind.
Goals by Zadra and Lyons 73 seconds apart put the Cougars up 4-1 after one period.
After Lyons beat Welyk with a point shot at 14:40, Brian Passmore showed his starting goaltender the hook. However, the Burnaby Winter Club product was back in between the pipes after Chris Smith played for only 20 seconds.
Victoria would go on to score three more goals in the middle frame.
On a partial breakaway, Johnson shrugged off the back-checking of Drayson Pears before twinkling the twine at 3:03. Carson gave the Cougars a 6-1 lead at 11:58 after redirecting a centering pass from Zadra during an odd man rush. Van de Wetering, who now has five points since being acquired from the 100 Mile House Wranglers three games ago, scored his second goal of the 2014-15 campaign at 17:59.
McMullen added to the lead at 9:08 of the third period. Assisting on the goal were Ludvig Adamsen and Howard Howden who finished the night with a pair of helpers.
Then at the 10:27 mark, fireworks erupted inside the Archie Browning Sports Centre.
Zeroing in on his target, Preece nailed Vorster from behind along the half wall in the Cougars zone. Vorster, who now had blood coming out of his mouth, went toe-to-toe with Preece. Two more scuffles broke out on the ice keeping linesmen Blake Copeland and Curtis Craig busy.
Carson closed out the scoring at 11:21 while both teams played four aside.
The final penalty of the game was handed out to Johnson who received an automatic game misconduct for checking-from-behind with just over a minute to play in regulation.
Victoria, who went 2-for-9 on the power play and 6-for-7 on the penalty kill, outshot Westshore 37-22.
The loss drops the Wolves to 15-7-1-0 on the season.
In Nanaimo, Hobin Zinck scored three times and Greg Maggio made 27 saves as the hometown Buccaneers downed the Oceanside Generals 8-2.
Next game for the Cougars is Saturday, November 15 against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. Game time at the Comox Valley Sports Centre, located at 3001 Vanier Road, is 7:30 p.m.
1st star, Sam McMullen (Goals: 2, Assists: 4)
2nd star, Anthony Ciurro (Saves: 21, Save Percentage: .955)
3rd star, Ryan Carson (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)