(ISN) – ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars extended their winning streak to three games after exploding for five unanswered goals en route to a 5-1 win over the Kerry Park Islanders on Thursday night.
Wade Johnson, John Kretzschmar, and Sam McMullen each finished with a goal and an assist, Lane Van de Wetering and Jake Stolz also scored, and Brett Lervold and Nathan Looysen each chipped in with a pair of helpers as well.
The win, coupled with Campbell River’s 5-3 loss to the Nanaimo Buccaneers, moves Victoria to within a point of the VIJHL-leading Storm.
Braedan Cross lit the lamp for Kerry Park who dropped its fifth straight game.
Trailing 1-0 and on a power play, Lervold fed the puck up to Johnson who was already in behind the Islanders defense. Making no mistake, Johnson made a nice deke on Leighton Williams at the 11:39 mark of the first period for his team leading 27th goal of the season.
Kretzschmar doubled the Cougars lead only 21 seconds later after tipping home a Ryan Vorster point shot. Getting credit for the second assist was McMullen who extended his point streak to 22 games.
Victoria (30-4-1-0) added to its lead at 9:35 of the middle stanza. Cutting towards the net, Van de Wetering waited for Williams to commit before sliding a backhander into the unguarded cage.
In what could have been the turning point in the game, Kerry Park forward David Bittner missed a wide open net only five minutes earlier. It would have tied the score but instead Van de Wetering gave the Cougars a two goal cushion.
There would be no scoring until the 10:28 mark of the third period. McMullen showed why he is one of the most dominant players in the VIJHL when he managed to twinkle the twine while fending off three Islanders defenders.
During a power play with two minutes and 30-seconds remaining in regulation, Kerry Park head coach Dale Purinton pulled Williams to make it a six-on-four.
But Stolz would seal the deal with a shorthanded goal into an empty net from his own zone with 1:51 remaining.
The Islanders (13-20-1-3) opened the scoring 6:54 in on a power play when Cross’ wrist shot from the slot beat Grant Payne to his blocker side. Payne settled down to make 14 saves for his 13th win of the season.
Williams turned aside 32 shots in defeat.
The Cougars finished 1-for-4 on the power play while Kerry Park went 1-for-3.
Next game for Victoria is Saturday, January 10 against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. Game time at the Comox Valley Sports Centre, located at 3001 Vanier Drive, is 7:30 p.m.
1st star, Sam McMullen (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Lane Van de Wetering (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)
3rd star, Wade Johnson (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)