Game Preview: Nanaimo Buccaneers vs. Victoria Cougars

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(ISN) – The Victoria Cougars host the Nanaimo Buccaneers this Thursday. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.Thursday’s contest marks the second of four meetings between these two non-divisional rivals.

Back on October 9, Victoria scored four unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 win. John Kretzschmar, Wade Johnson, Michael Fretz, and Ryan Carson found the back of the net for the Cougars who trailed by two goals late in the second period.

Replying for Nanaimo was Carter Turnbull and Chad Bell.

Victoria went 2-for-6 on the power play while the hometown Buccaneers failed to score on four opportunities.

Grant Payne finished with 21 saves for the Cougars. 200-feet away, Nanaimo’s Greg Maggio turned aside 25 shots.

Victoria (20-3-1-0) enters Thursday’s game in first place in the South Island Division and one point away from top spot overall which is currently held by the Campbell River Storm. Last time out, the Cougars beat the Peninsula Panthers 3-1 to extend their winning streak to two games.

Sam McMullen continues his torrid pace for Victoria. Currently on a 12-game point streak, McMullen leads the VIJHL scoring race with 15 goals and 27 assists after 21 games. Johnson has scored eight goals during his seven-game goal streak.

The Buccaneers (14-8-0-2) enter Thursday’s game in second place in the North Island Division, 12 points back of the Storm. Last time out, Nanaimo dropped a 9-8 overtime decision to the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. Both Jordan Levesque and Will McNamara had four points apiece in that game.

David Osborne and Clayton Peace are on three-game point streaks for the Buccaneers.

STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 41 points, South Island Division. Nanaimo – T2nd place, 30 points, North Island Division

OFFENSE: Victoria – 2nd place, 4.54 goals for per game. Nanaimo – 4th place, 4.17 goals for per game

DEFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 1.67 goals against per game. Nanaimo – 4th place, 3.67 goals against per game

TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Michael Fretz, 19 goals; Sam McMullen, 27 assists; Sam McMullen, 42 points; John Kretzschmar, 40 penalty minutes. Nanaimo – Will McNamara, 16 goals; Jordan Levesque, 26 assists; Jordan Levesque, 37 points; Will McNamara, 84 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Anthony Ciurro (1.31 goals against average, .939 save percentage); Grant Payne (1.93 goals against average, .913 save percentage). Nanaimo – Liam Young (3.01 goals against average, .903 save percentage); Greg Maggio (3.99 goals against average, .888 save percentage)

POWER PLAY: Victoria – 2nd place, 31-for-135, 22.96 percent. Nanaimo – 6th place, 19-for-109, 17.43 percent

PENALTY KILL: Victoria – 1st place, 108-for-116, 93.10 percent. Nanaimo – 7th place, 110-for-138, 79.71 percent

SEASON SERIES: Victoria leads, 1-0-0-0

October 9, 2014. Victoria Cougars 4 @ Nanaimo Buccaneers 2
December 21, 2014. Victoria Cougars @ Nanaimo Buccaneers
January 25, 2015. Nanaimo Buccaneers @ Victoria Cougars

HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 8-1-1-0. Nanaimo – Away, 5-5-0-2

STREAKS: Victoria, 2-0-0-0. Nanaimo, 1-0-0-1

LAST TEN: Victoria, 9-1-0-0. Nanaimo, 4-5-0-1