Victoria Cougars look to remain red-hot against Oceanside Generals

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By Peter Kung 

(ISN) – The Victoria Cougars concludes their three-game homestand tomorrow when they host the Oceanside Generals.

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

There will be a new face in the Cougars lineup. PJ Heger, who was recently acquired from Oceanside in exchange for cash, will make his debut against his former teammates tomorrow. The eighteen-year-old forward from Traverse City, Michigan was leading the Generals in scoring before the trade to Victoria.

Heger, who collected 13 goals, ten assists, and 26 penalty minutes in 30 games for Oceanside, stands five-foot-ten and weighs in at 185 pounds. He also scored two power play goals and two shorthanded goals.

The Cougars (24-3-1-0) look to extend their winning streak to seven games after doubling up on the Peninsula Panthers 6-3 last Sunday.

Brett Lervold scored three goals for Victoria while Ryan Carson, Michael Fretz, and Sam McMullen each added singles. In net for the Cougars was Anthony Ciurro who stopped 21 shots for his league leading 15th win of the season.

For McMullen, his goal and two assists last Sunday extended his point streak to 16 games. The five-year veteran currently leads all VIJHL scorers with 17 goals and 36 assists; eight points ahead of Michael Olson, Gage Colpron, and Jordan Levesque.

McMullen is not the only Victoria player who is red-hot right now. Wade Johnson is on an 11-game point streak while Lervold has points in his last five games and Lane Van de Wetering and Fretz are both on four-game point streaks.

Tomorrow’s game marks the fourth and final meeting between these two non-divisional foes. The Cougars have won all three previous games by a combined score of 16-6.

It has been a tumultuous week for Oceanside (5-23-1-1) who went through some off-ice and on-ice turmoil.

First, Generals’ president Sylvain Giroux, general manager Lou Gravel, and head coach Chuck Kessler all resigned. Elizabeth Cudmore becomes president while Rob Gaudreault assumes the role of both general manager and head coach.

Second, Oceanside was embarrassed 17-1 by the North Island Division leading Campbell River Storm last Friday before dropping a 4-3 decision to the Nanaimo Buccaneers 24-hours later.

Not all is doom and gloom for the embattled Generals though.

They are only three points back of Peninsula for the final playoff spot. Travis Flug, who posted 33 points last year with Oceanside, came out of retirement at the end of November. And less than three weeks ago, the Generals were celebrating a 4-3 overtime win over the heavily-favoured Storm.

And scoring the overtime winner that night was none other than PJ Heger.

In other action around the VIJHL tomorrow, Nanaimo (17-9-0-2) takes on Campbell River (24-2-1-2) at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 49 points, South Island Division. Oceanside – 4th place, 12 points, North Island Division

OFFENSE: Victoria – 2nd place, 4.71 goals for per game. Oceanside – 7th place, 2.87 goals for per game

DEFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 1.79 goals against per game. Oceanside – 9th place, 5.60 goals against per game

TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Michael Fretz, 21 goals; Sam McMullen, 36 assists; Sam McMullen, 53 points; John Kretzschmar, 57 penalty minutes. Oceanside – Logan Savard, Cameron Nickerson, 8 goals; Logan Savard, Mathieu Jallabert, 10 assists; Logan Savard, 18 points; Gibson Doney, 131 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Anthony Ciurro (1.45 goals against average, .934 save percentage); Grant Payne (2.09 goals against average, .907 save percentage). Oceanside – David Anderson (5.17 goals against average, .875 save percentage); Austin Caktas (6.31 goals against average, .842 save percentage)

POWER PLAY: Victoria – 2nd place, 36-for-155, 23.23 percent. Oceanside – 9th place, 21-for-224, 9.38 percent

PENALTY KILL: Victoria – 1st place, 123-for-135, 91.11 percent. Oceanside – 7th place, 179-for-223, 80.27 percent

SEASON SERIES: Victoria leads, 3-0-0-0

October 18, 2014. Victoria Cougars 5 @ Oceanside Generals 2
October 25, 2014. Victoria Cougars 6 @ Oceanside Generals 2
October 30, 2014. Oceanside Generals 2 @ Victoria Cougars 5

HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 11-1-1-0. Oceanside – Away, 0-14-1-0

STREAKS: Victoria, 6-0-0-0. Oceanside, 0-3-0-1

LAST TEN: Victoria, 9-1-0-0. Oceanside, 2-7-0-1