Final week proves pivotal for Victoria Cougars

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(ISN) – The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League is down to its final week of regular season play and with only three games remaining on their schedule the Victoria Cougars are still in control of their own destiny.

Victoria (39-5-1-0) currently trails the Campbell River Storm by one point for top spot in the VIJHL.

However, the Cougars do have one game in hand and will try to use it to their advantage when they host the Kerry Park Islanders tonight.

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

Victoria will then travel to Campbell River tomorrow to take on the Storm in what likely will determine who gets to lift the Andy Hebenton Trophy. In addition, the regular season winner will have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

A capacity crowd is expected at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena.

The Cougars close out the regular season at home Sunday afternoon against the Westshore Wolves.

Although Victoria has won all seven previous meetings, it can ill afford to take the Islanders lightly considering the huge implications.

The Cougars, who will actually face Kerry Park in the opening round of the 2015 VIJHL Playoffs, have outscored the Islanders 44-7 this season. Three games have come via shutouts.

Sam McMullen is on the brink of becoming the seventh member of Victoria to win a scoring title.

Currently 13 points ahead of Will McNamara of the Storm, McMullen would join the likes of Brody Coulter, Steven Axford, Michael Hammond, Karl Carveth, Mark Van Helvoirt, and Daryl Boyer who won the scoring title twice.

With their 8-2 victory over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings last Thursday, the Cougars extended their win streak to seven games.

Kerry Park (15-26-1-4) has lost four of their six games since the All-Star break.

Elsewhere tonight, Comox Valley travels to Nanaimo to take on the Buccaneers at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 79 points, South Island Division. Kerry Park – 4th place, 35 points, South Island Division

OFFENSE: Victoria – 2nd place, 5.29 goals for per game. Kerry Park – 6th place, 3.46 goals for per game

DEFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 2.16 goals against per game. Kerry Park – 8th place, 4.54 goals against per game

TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Sam McMullen, Michael Fretz, 36 goals; Sam McMullen, 57 assists; Sam McMullen, 93 points; John Kretzschmar, 89 penalty minutes. Kerry Park – Braedan Cross, 25 goals; Braedan Cross, 34 assists; Braedan Cross, 59 points; Nick White, Patrick Poets, 94 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Anthony Ciurro (1.51 goals against average, .934 save percentage); Grant Payne (2.51 goals against average, .886 save percentage). Kerry Park – Leighton Williams (4.37 goals against average, .898 save percentage); Ty Rennie (4.77 goals against average, .878 save percentage)

POWER PLAY: Victoria – 1st place, 60-for-239, 25.10 percent. Kerry Park – 3rd place, 44-for-214, 20.56 percent

PENALTY KILL: Victoria – 1st place, 185-for-203, 91.13 percent. Kerry Park – 9th place, 203-for-264, 76.89 percent

SEASON SERIES: Victoria leads, 7-0-0-0

PAST RESULTS/FUTURE MEETINGS:
September 25, 2014. Kerry Park Islanders 1 @ Victoria Cougars 5
October 5, 2014. Victoria Cougars 4 @ Kerry Park Islanders 3 (OT)
November 8, 2014. Victoria Cougars 6 @ Kerry Park Islanders 0
November 22, 2014. Victoria Cougars 4 @ Kerry Park Islanders 0
December 18, 2014. Kerry Park Islanders 2 @ Victoria Cougars 8
January 8, 2015. Kerry Park Islanders 1 @ Victoria Cougars 5
January 31, 2015. Victoria Cougars 12 @ Kerry Park Islanders 0

HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 19-2-1-0. Kerry Park – Away, 5-15-0-2

STREAKS: Victoria, 7-0-0-0. Kerry Park, 0-1-0-0

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