Peter Kung 

(ISN) – ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Oakland over Kansas City on Thursday Night Football wasn’t the only upset in the sporting world.

At the Archie Browning Sports Centre, Alex Olson made 29 saves as he single handily backstopped the Peninsula Panthers to a 4-1 win over the red-hot Victoria Cougars.

Olson, who turned aside all 15 Victoria shots in the second period alone, was named the game’s first star.

On paper this was a mismatch. 29 points separated these two teams in the standings and the Cougars had won both meetings earlier in the season.

But Peninsula led 2-1 after one period and 3-1 after two.

Nathan Looysen, who played 57 games with the WHL Kamloops Blazers last season and seven games with the BCHL Victoria Grizzlies at the start of this year, led the attack with a goal and an assist. Since his return to the VIJHL, Looysen has racked up eight points in six games.

Also scoring for the Panthers (5-19-0-0) were Spencer Loverock, Mitch Newman, and Brett Sjerven.

The loss ended Victoria’s win streak at nine games and home unbeaten streak at eight games.

Peninsula played an almost perfect game. They matched the Cougars hit for hit, skated stride for stride with them, and most importantly stayed out of the penalty box.

Looysen opened the scoring 1:16 in when his wrist shot cleanly beat Grant Payne far side.

Victoria (18-3-1-0) managed to get that one back at the 16:54 mark. From the half wall, Lane Van de Wetering fed the puck out front to Wade Johnson who one-timed it past Olson for his fifth goal in five games.

Sam McMullen extended his point streak to ten games after getting credit with the second assist. The six-foot-one, 170-pound forward now has 11 goals and 18 assists over that stretch and continues to lead the VIJHL in scoring with 39 points in 19 games.

The upstart Panthers took the lead for good with one minute to go in the period. After Payne stopped Connor Mowatt, jumping all over the rebound was Loverock who fired the puck into a wide open cage.

Things went from bad to worse for the Cougars when Newman notched his second goal in as many games at the 3:46 mark of the middle frame to put Peninsula up 3-1.

Payne, who allowed three goals on 12 shots, did not have the start he had imagined coming into the game as he lasted less than 24 minutes before being pulled in favour of Anthony Ciurro.

After scoring six goals against the Westshore Wolves the night prior, Victoria just could not get anything going offensively. In the third period, the Cougars managed only five shots on goal.

Sjerven sealed the deal with an empty net goal with 54.2 seconds remaining in regulation.

After the buzzer sounded to end the game, Olson was mobbed by his teammates.

Victoria went 0-for-4 with the man advantage while the Panthers finished 0-for-6.

Ciurro made eight saves in relief.

In Nanaimo, Jordan Levesque potted a pair of goals as the hometown Buccaneers defeated Westshore 6-4.

Earlier today, the Cougars acquired 19-year-old forward Brett Lervold from the Wolves in exchange for future considerations. Lervold, who posted 73 points last year and 25 points this year, is expected to be in the lineup on Saturday.

Next game for Victoria is Saturday, November 22 against the Kerry Park Islanders. Game time at the Kerry Park Recreation Centre, located at 1035 Shawnigan Mill Bay Road, is 7:30 p.m.


1st star, Alex Olson (Saves: 29, Save Percentage: .967)

2nd star, Nathan Looysen (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)

3rd star, Robert Zadra (Goals: 0, Assists: 0)