ESQUIMALT, B.C. – It wasn’t too long ago that Nathan Looysen was a real promising prospect for the Peninsula Panthers.
The ex-Panther had a goal and an assist against his former team Thursday night as the Victoria Cougars skated to a 6-1 victory at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.
Victoria remains the only undefeated team in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League at 5-0-0-0.
Sean Wendlandt, who posted his first shutout last Saturday, made 18 saves which included robbing Ty Tremblay on a second period penalty shot.
The Cougars led 2-0 after one period and 5-0 after two.
Dom Kolbeins opened the scoring 4:56 in when he gobbled up a loose puck and snapped it over the right shoulder of Alex Olson.
Just over two-and-a-half minutes later, Victoria doubled its lead. Wendlandt fired a stretch pass to Looysen who from a sharp angle slapped the puck on the Panthers goalie. Cody Hodges banged home the rebound for his team-leading sixth goal after Olson was unable to corral the initial shot.
There was no scoring until the 17-second mark of the middle frame when John Kretzschmar slid the puck over to Looysen who fooled Olson with a well-placed backhander. It was the first goal of the season for the ex-Kamloops Blazers forward.
Outshot 21-3 in the opening period, Peninsula was awarded a penalty shot when Tremblay was hauled down by Ryan Buse during a partial breakaway. But the 20-year-old rookie shot the puck into the pads of Wendlandt.
The first player to congratulate Wendlandt was Buse.
Victoria received a power play when Garnett Roberts, who was traded to the Panthers in exchange for Looysen back in December of 2014, was assessed a penalty for interference after he steamrolled over Akila Sato-Gaudreau.
And then with only 16 seconds remaining in the penalty, Ryan Carson scored his first of two goals at 4:39. Then at 14:23, Liam Kinshella teamed up with Kretzschmar for the Cougars fifth goal.
It was a pretty tame game until the midway point of the third period when things got testy between the two division rivals. Victoria’s Kurtis Gamble won a unanimous decision over Koby Hale in a showdown of 18-year-olds.
Playing four-on-four, Spencer Loverock broke up Wendlandt’s shutout bid with 7:53 to play.
Carson, with 28.2 seconds remaining in the game, scored shorthanded to close out the scoring.
The Cougars, who peppered Olson with 41 shots, went 1-for-6 with the man advantage and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
It was the first loss in three games for Peninsula who beat the Kerry Park Islanders and most recently the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
Rob Mortin and his troops drop to 3-4-0-0 on the season.
With the game out of reach, Kolbeins threw himself in front of a Ryan Warner shot. After crawling to the bench in obvious pain, Kolbeins was able to get back out onto the ice for his next shift.
In the Hub City, Nicholas Polomark scored at 2:32 of overtime to lift the visiting Westshore Wolves to a 4-3 win over the Nanaimo Buccaneers.
Next game for Victoria is Friday, September 25 against the Saanich Braves. Game time at Pearkes Recreation Centre, located at 3100 Tillicum Road, is 6:30 p.m.
1st star, Nathan Looysen (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Nick Lyons (Goals: 0, Assists: 0)
3rd star, Austin Wilk (Goals: 0, Assists: 1)