(ISN) – COLWOOD, B.C. – Sam McMullen extended his point streak to 20 games but it was not enough as the Victoria Cougars dropped a 6-5 decision to the Westshore Wolves on a drizzly Wednesday evening.
Victoria, who had its nine game win streak come to a screeching halt, dropped to 27-4-1-0 on the season and remains one point back of the league-leading Campbell River Storm. Both teams have played 32 games.
After beating Campbell River in one of the biggest games of the year on Sunday, it remained to be seen as to whether the Cougars were suffering a hangover from it.
Victoria built an early 2-0 first period lead but saw it evaporate into a 3-2 deficit just under a minute into the middle frame. The Cougars then scored two unanswered goals before Westshore made it 4-4 after 40 minutes.
But that was when the see-saw battle stopped.
At 11:33 of the third period, the Wolves completed the comeback with two goals in a span of six minutes and 24-seconds to claim a 6-4 lead. Victoria answered with a late goal to cut the deficit to one but that was as close as they would get.
Westshore improved to 22-11-1-0 on the season and of those 22 wins, two of them have come at the expense of the Cougars. Both times occurring at The Q Centre.
There was no stopping Rylan Ball who recorded three goals and one assist for the Wolves. Ball was named the game’s first star and rightly so.
Ryan Carson opened the scoring at 5:50 of the first period when a centering pass from Michael Fretz went off his skate and in. Victoria went ahead 2-0 after Robert Zadra banged home a Jake Stolz rebound past Chris Smith at 6:15.
Ten seconds after killing off a Kayle Ramsay penalty, Nicolas Polomark lifted a backhander over Grant Payne at 10:13 to cut the deficit in half. Chipping away at the lead, Ball tied the game at 15:44.
A cross-checking penalty to James Severs with 4.7 seconds remaining carried over into the second period for Mark Van Helvoirt and his troops. But it would be Ball, who at the 48 second mark; would break the tie with a shorthanded goal after he jammed the puck into the net.
McMullen scored to make it 3-3 at 6:59. Then at 13:11, Wade Johnson gave the Cougars their second lead of the game after he beat Smith glove side on a breakaway.
Victoria went on its fourth power play of the night after Spencer Preece was called for roughing. The dreadful power play continued for Victoria who allowed its second shorthanded goal of the game.
Corey Peterson made a nice deke before sliding the puck through the legs of Payne at 18:09.
And for the third time, the game was tied again.
But the Wolves regained the lead for good at the 5:09 mark of the third period on a goal by Quinton McShane. Then on a delayed penalty, Ball completed the hat-trick with the eventual game winner to give Westshore a 6-4 lead at 11:33.
Lane Van de Wetering made it interesting at 18:37 after redirecting a pass from Ryan Buse.
An elbowing penalty to Peterson with 21.9 seconds remaining in regulation put the Cougars on a shortened power play. And with Payne pulled for an extra attacker, Victoria was unable to get any sort of good scoring opportunity.
The Cougars, who outshot Westshore 38-33, went 0-for-6 with the man advantage and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL, Riley Mathieson made 31 saves to help the Saanich Braves to a 3-1 win over the visiting Kerry Park Islanders at the Pearkes Recreation Centre.
Next game for Victoria is Thursday, December 18 against Kerry Park. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
1st star, Rylan Ball (Goals: 3, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Nicolas Polomark (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
3rd star, Michael Fretz (Goals: 0, Assists: 3)