(ISN) – ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars got revenge for a 4-1 loss Thursday with a 3-1 win over the Peninsula Panthers.
Four different players registered points for Victoria but it was the line of Wade Johnson, Sam McMullen, and Brett Lervold that did most of the damage.
Sunday afternoon’s game marked the midway point of the season for the Cougars who finished the first half with a record of 20-3-1-0.
A power play goal from Johnson put the Cougars up 1-0 late in the opening frame. Then early in the third period, Johnson scored his second goal of the game and 16th goal of the season to give Victoria a 2-1 lead.
McMullen, who extended his point streak to 12 games and Lervold, who was playing in his second game after making his season debut last night in Kerry Park, assisted on both Johnson goals. Lervold was acquired from the Westshore Wolves in exchange for future considerations late last week.
The Panthers, who had their three-game winning streak snapped, dropped to 6-20-0-0 on the season.
There was no scoring until there were 29.2 ticks remaining in the first period. A cross-checking penalty to Conner Mowatt 50 seconds earlier put the Cougars on their second power play of the game.
From behind the goal line, Lervold fed the puck out front to McMullen who then dished it off to a wide open Johnson for an easy goal.
Alex Olson, who was named the game’s third star in recognition of his 40-save performance, had no chance at stopping the puck.
Victoria countered with Anthony Ciurro and the 18-year-old rookie netminder allowed only a second-period goal.
After a Cougars defender coughed the puck up at his own blue line, Nathan Looysen raced in on net and beat Ciurro blocker side with a well-placed snap shot. For the former Kamloops Blazers/Victoria Grizzlies forward, that was his twelfth point in eight games since returning to the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League late last month.
57 seconds into the final frame, the same trio of Johnson, McMullen, and Lervold struck again to extend Victoria’s lead to 2-1. With two more tallies, Johnson now has eight goals during his current seven-game goal streak.
Then at 6:37, everyone inside the Archie Browning Sports Centre was in complete shock when a long range howitzer from Ryan Buse rang off the cross bar and in. The goal, which was scored unassisted, was the first of the season for Buse.
Mitchell Newman came close to making it a one-goal game with less than two minutes to play in regulation but Ciurro absorbed the slap shot into his bread basket. Ciurro, who lowered his goals against average to 1.31 and raised his save percentage to .939, finished the afternoon with 28 saves for his 11th win of the season.
The Cougars went 1-for-4 on the power play while Peninsula failed to score on its four opportunities.
Austin Wilk, in his second game for Victoria, made his home debut and played alongside Ryan Vorster.
Next game for the Cougars is Thursday, November 27 against the Nanaimo Buccaneers. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
1st star, Wade Johnson (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)
2nd star, Sam McMullen (Goals: 0, Assists: 2)
3rd star, Alex Olson (Saves: 40, Save Percentage: .930)