Victoria Cougars face a tough week ahead

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Peter Kung

(ISN) – The Victoria Cougars (17-2-1-0) host the Peninsula Panthers (4-19-0-0) this Thursday.

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

It was another perfect week for Victoria who won both of its games. The Cougars beat the visiting Westshore Wolves 9-1 last Thursday before eking out a 2-1 victory over the hometown Comox Valley Glacier Kings two nights later.

But before Victoria can even think about their game against the Panthers, the see-saw battle between the Cougars and Westshore for first place in the South Island Division continues this Wednesday at The Q Centre. Victoria currently holds three games in hand and a four-point lead on the Wolves.

Last Thursday, Sam McMullen netted a season-high six points with two goals and four assists. Anthony Ciurro made 21 saves to lower his league-leading goals against average to 1.46 and raise his league-leading save percentage to .929. The 18-year-old goaltender from Peoria, Arizona also has nine wins on the season.

Then on Saturday, the Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by McMullen and Michael Fretz. Comox Valley, who was outshot 11-4 in the third period and 24-19 overall, cut the deficit in half with 10:19 remaining in regulation. Grant Payne, who was making his first start in net since October 30, shut the door from there.

McMullen and Fretz are both on eight-game point streaks. Both players are averaging over 1.5 points per game. Lane Van de Wetering has been a pleasant surprise for Victoria since being acquired from the 100 Mile House Wranglers of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. The five-foot-ten, 170-pound forward from Quesnel, British Columbia has points in all four games played.

The Cougars have won eight straight games and are 4-0-0-0 in November. However, Victoria has a lot of games to make up. Having played only 20 contests so far this season, the Cougars face a stretch of four games in five nights beginning in Westshore this Wednesday.

It has been a tough season for the Panthers. Lately though, they have been on a modest tear as of late.

Peninsula edged the visiting Kerry Park Islanders 4-3 in overtime last Friday for their second win in five games. At home, the Panthers are 4-7-0-0 but on the road they are winless in twelve tries.

Reece Costain scored the game winner at the 34 second mark of double overtime to give Peninsula the win. In net for the Panthers was Alex Olson who turned aside 25-of-28 shots.

Thursday marks the third of eight meetings between Peninsula and the Cougars. Victoria took the first meeting on September 12 by a score of 4-2. Then on September 26, the Cougars won 3-1. Both games were played at the A.B.S.C.

Koby Hale will not be in the Panthers lineup on Thursday. The 17-year-old forward injured his finger while blocking a shot in Friday night’s game against the Islanders.

Peninsula is one of only two teams to beat the league-leading Campbell River Storm this season.

In other action around the V.I.J.H.L. on Thursday, the Wolves travel to Nanaimo to take on the Buccaneers.

STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 35 points, South Island Division. Peninsula – 4th place, 8 points, South Island Division

OFFENSE: Victoria – 2nd place, 4.75 goals for per game. Peninsula – 9th place, 2.09 goals for per game

DEFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 1.70 goals against per game. Peninsula – 8th place, 4.70 goals against per game

TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Michael Fretz, 17 goals; Sam McMullen, Robert Zadra, 19 assists; Sam McMullen, 33 points; Jake Stolz, 36 penalty minutes. Peninsula – Grayden Hohl, Reece Costain, Trevor Owens, 5 goals; Grayden Hohl, 9 assists; Grayden Hohl, 14 points; Reece Costain, 67 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Anthony Ciurro (1.46 goals against average, .929 save percentage); Grant Payne (1.89 goals against average, .915 save percentage). Peninsula – Alex Olson (3.59 goals against average, .872 save percentage); Kaelan LeBlanc (7.38 goals against average, .765 save percentage)

POWER PLAY: Victoria – 2nd place, 26-for-115, 22.61 percent. Peninsula – 7th place, 19-for-135, 14.07 percent

PENALTY KILL: Victoria – 1st place, 91-for-99, 91.92 percent. Peninsula – 9th place, 89-for-117, 76.07 percent

SEASON SERIES: Series tied, 2-0-0-0

PAST RESULTS/FUTURE MEETINGS:
September 12, 2014. Victoria Cougars 4 @ Peninsula Panthers 2
September 26, 2014. Victoria Cougars 3 @ Peninsula Panthers 1
November 23, 2014. Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars
December 7, 2014. Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars
December 12, 2014. Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers
January 22, 2015. Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars
January 23, 2015. Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers

HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 7-0-1-0. Peninsula – Away, 0-12-0-0

STREAKS: Victoria, 8-0-0-0. Peninsula, 1-0-0-0

LAST TEN: Victoria, 9-1-0-0. Peninsula, 4-6-0-0

ALL UNIFORMED SCOUTS AND GIRL GUIDES WILL BE ADMITTED FREE OF CHARGE

This Thursday is “Scouts and Girl Guide Night.”

All scouts, girl guides, and scout leaders who show up to Thursday night’s game wearing their uniform will be admitted free of charge.

On Thursday, the Victoria Cougars will be taking on the Peninsula Panthers.

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

Doors open one hour prior to game time.

VICTORIA COUGARS PRESENTS PUB NIGHT & SILENT AUCTION

Does driving store to store during the Christmas holiday stress you out?

No worries, the Victoria Cougars have the answer.

On Friday, November 21, the Cougars will be hosting their 12th annual Pub Night & Silent Auction.

The action begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Crow’s Nest of the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road.

Come get an early jump on your Christmas shopping.

Bring your friends and family out for a night of fun and excitement.

Because this event is fully licensed, nobody under the age of 19 may attend.

Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased at this Thursday’s home game or on the night of the event.

All proceeds go to support the Victoria Cougars Junior Hockey Club.

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