Victoria Cougars defeated the Peninsula Panthers 5-1

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Victoria Cougars 1925 Jersey

(ISN) – NORTH SAANICH, B.C. – Sam McMullen had two goals and two assists as the Victoria Cougars defeated the Peninsula Panthers 5-1 in one of three Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League games on tap Friday.

Victoria (26-3-1-0), who won its eighth game in a row, led 2-1 after one period and 4-1 after two.

Michael Fretz opened the scoring 49 seconds in when he tipped a Ryan Buse point shot over the shoulder of Alex Olson. Picking up the secondary assist was McMullen who extended his point streak to 18 games.

Four minutes later, McMullen rang the puck off one post and then the other.

The Panthers tied the game on a power play. Five seconds after Robert Zadra was called for holding the stick, Brett Sjerven took a few strides in from the blue line and ripped a wrist shot past Anthony Ciurro at 7:17.

But with just under two minutes to play in the opening period, Aiden Silzer-Hooker had his point shot redirected in by Fretz for his team-leading 24th goal.

McMullen, known as one of the VIJHL’s best in the faceoff circle, won the draw back to Buse. From the blue line, Buse spotted Johnson in the slot who at 2:26 of the second period fooled Olson by altering the course of the puck.

Five minutes later, Fretz rang the puck off the crossbar.

Trailing 3-1, the Panthers were handed an extended power play when Mitch Moloney received a four minute minor for high-sticking. However, Peninsula was unable to take advantage of its opportunity.

A roughing penalty to Panthers defenseman Sean Buchanan put Victoria back on the power play. 47 seconds into the penalty, McMullen banged home a Johnson rebound with less than two minutes to play before the second intermission.

McMullen then rounded out the scoring at 3:47 of the third period.

After allowing five goals on 23 shots, Olson was replaced in net by Taylor Finlay. At the bench, Olson lost his cool by throwing his stick.

One minute later, PJ Heger was denied his first goal as a Cougar after his shot rang off the goal post.

Jake Stolz was back patrolling the blue line for Victoria after missing three games with an undisclosed injury. The stay-at-home defenseman let his presence be known by flattening Conner Mowatt in the first period and then wallpapering Sjerven along the boards near centre ice in the third.

Peninsula (7-24-0-1) became frustrated late in the game. With under a minute to play in regulation, Torin O’Brien received a roughing minor and a ten-minute misconduct with 28.5 ticks remaining on the clock. And then with 9.2 seconds to play, Ben Meyerink took a run at Austin Wilk and received a charging penalty for his actions.

Shots on goal favored the Cougars 29-22.

Both teams went 1-for-5 on the power play.

In Courtenay, five different players recorded multi-point performances as the visiting Westshore Wolves beat the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 5-2.

And in Campbell River, Will McNamara scored twice and added a pair of assists to help lead the hometown Storm to a 6-4 win over the Saanich Braves.

Next game for Victoria is Sunday, December 14 against the North Island Division leading Storm. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 3:30 p.m.

THREE STARS:

1st star, Michael Fretz (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)

2nd star, Braeden Pearce (Goals: 0, Assists: 1)

3rd star, Wade Johnson (Goals: 1, Assists: 2)

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