(ISN) -ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars scored three second period goals including two within a span of 46 seconds to win their third game in a row, doubling up on the Nanaimo Buccaneers 6-3 on a rainy and windy Thursday evening.
Scoring for the Cougars, who held a first period lead of 1-0 before unleashing an offensive assault in which Nanaimo could not recover from, were Michael Fretz, Liam Kinshella, Brett Lervold, Robert Zadra, Ryan Carson, and Wade Johnson.
The win moves Victoria (21-3-1-0) into sole possession of first overall in the nine-team Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Campbell River, who had the night off and does not play until Saturday, sits one point back with one game in hand.
It was a night of firsts for Kinshella and Lervold who each fired home their first goals as members of the Cougars.
Fretz opened the scoring at 13:31 for the only goal of the first period on a power play that was set up by Ryan Vorster. To the left of goaltender Greg Maggio, Fretz one-timed a Vorster feed from just inside the faceoff circle for his league-leading 20th goal of the season.
Maggio was brilliant in the first period and during the first half of the second to keep it a one-goal game.
But then the floodgates opened when Kinshella scored at 10:50 of a wild and woolly middle frame.
Lervold would make it 3-0 for Victoria at 16:40. Assisting on the goal was Sam McMullen who extended his point streak to 13 games. The Cougars increased their lead at 17:26 after Zadra banged home a Vorster rebound past Maggio.
With Lervold serving a delay of game penalty, Carter Turnbull scored at the 31 second mark of the third period to break Anthony Ciurro’s shutout bid. Referee Jeff Eden had no choice to penalize Victoria for taking too long to come out onto the ice to start the third period.
Carson got that goal back for the Cougars at 5:04. Picking up the assists were Vorster with his third and Lane Van de Wetering.
Nanaimo received a scare midway through the period when a collision between Maggio and teammate David Osbourne left both players lying on the ice. Osbourne was able to skate to the player’s bench under his own power while Maggio had to be attended to by trainer Verne McShane.
Both players would be okay.
Then at 16:53, Johnson jumped all over a loose puck and wired a wrist shot in between the right arm of Maggio and the right goal post. For Johnson, he extended his goal scoring streak to eight games.
Victoria got sloppy towards the end. Hobin Zinck scored converted a Rowen Siider rebound into a goal at 17:32 before Osbourne cut the lead in half when his shot rang off the crossbar and in at 18:18.
Time just simply ran out for the visitors.
It has been a tough go for the Buccaneers (14-9-0-2) who started the season with eight wins in ten games. Since then, they have six wins, eight losses, and one overtime loss.
The Cougars, who outshot Nanaimo 44-24, went 1-for-6 with the man advantage while going 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Jake Stolz played well defensively for Victoria and was rewarded by being named the game’s third star.
In Colwood, newcomers Christian Brandt scored once and added three assists and James Severs posted three helpers as well to lead the Westshore Wolves over the Peninsula Panthers 7-3 at The Q Centre.
Next game for the Cougars is Friday, November 28 against the Saanich Braves. Game time at the Pearkes Recreation Centre, located at 3100 Tillicum Road, is 6:30 p.m.
1st star, Michael Fretz (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)
2nd star, Brett Lervold (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
3rd star, Jake Stolz (Goals: 0, Assists: 0)