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(ISN) – ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The reigning VIJHL champion Victoria Cougars opened their playoff drive in style following a 10-1 romp over the Kerry Park Islanders on Thursday night.

Michael Fretz led the way offensively with two goals and two assists.

Also scoring for Victoria, which held period leads of 3-0 and 5-0, were Lane Van de Wetering, Sam McMullen, Brett Lervold, Wade Johnson, Ryan Buse, Ryan Carson, Austin Wilk, and Nathan Looysen.

It only took 4:44 in for the Cougars to draw first blood. After taking a feed from Carson, Fretz wired the puck past Leighton Williams low to his stick side. Van de Wetering doubled the lead at 10:52 after gobbling up a juicy rebound in front of the net.

An interference penalty put Victoria behind the eight-ball. But it would be the Cougars who would find the back of the net. After getting chopped down from behind on a shorthanded breakaway, McMullen was awarded a penalty shot.

Skating wide left, McMullen cut in on net and fired a wrist shot past Williams at 13:05.

Lervold made it 4-0 at 11:11 of the second period on a delayed penalty to Jordan Coyne. Then at 12:59, Johnson scored Victoria’s fifth goal on the power play.

There was no scoring until the 6:42 mark of the third period when Fretz notched his second goal of the game.

Grant Payne had his shutout bid ruined by Braeden Cross who tipped home a Tanner Browne point shot on the power play at 8:10. It was the first goal in over ten periods for Kerry Park against a Cougars goaltender.

Buse, who was named the game’s second star, scored at 9:28 on the power play.

Victoria would hit double digits on goals by Carson, Wilk, and Looysen in a span of one minute and 56-seconds.

Shots on goal were 53-16.

Victoria went 2-for-6 with the man advantage; meanwhile, the Islanders went 1-for-6.

Game 2 goes Saturday night in Kerry Park.

Elsewhere in the VIJHL, Grayden McInnes scored the game winner in overtime to lift the Comox Valley Glacier Kings past the Nanaimo Buccaneers 4-3 in front of 280 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. That series is tied at one game apiece.


1st star, Sam McMullen (Goals: 1, Assists: 2)

2nd star, Ryan Buse (Goals: 1, Assists: 2)

3rd star, PJ Heger (Goals: 0, Assists: 2)