By Peter Kung
ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars overcame a three-goal deficit Sunday afternoon to tie the Campbell River Storm 4-4 at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.
It seemed only fitting for these two identical teams to end the game in a stalemate.
Campbell River led 3-0 after one period and 4-3 after two.
Mitch Moloney forced overtime at the 8:53 mark of the third period after the resilient Cougars refused to quit.
It was a hard-hitting, action-packed affair which saw a number of players from both teams leaving the ice and not returning. Victoria lost John Kretzschmar early, Dom Kolbeins to a game misconduct, and Kameron Fink in the third period.
Meanwhile, Kenny Britton received a game misconduct midway through the third period for the Storm while teammates Evan Grills and Trevor Bottomley were both helped off the ice in the second and third periods respectively.
Already playing without its second leading scorer Braeden Cyra and its Tasmanian Devil Reese Costain to suspensions, Campbell River scored three first period goals in a span one minute and 50 seconds.
The Cougars and their hometown faithful were in shock as to what had transpired.
15 seconds into their first power play of the afternoon, Kobe Oishi banged the puck past Anthony Ciurro at 9:22 to open the floodgates. Alex Rosolowsky padded the lead with an unassisted goal 18 seconds later.
Then Josh Coblenz, one of the league’s most exciting up-and-comers, scored his seventh goal of the season at 11:12 to give the Storm a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
But whatever was said or done in between periods worked as the Cougars pulled to within a goal twice, leaving Campbell River hanging on for dare life.
Nathan Looysen scored twice for Victoria, once while shorthanded, to cut the deficit to 3-2. The shorthanded goal came 28 seconds after Kolbeins received a five minute major and a game misconduct for tripping Grills along the end boards.
But Gage Colpron restored the Storm’s two goal lead at 11:59. After the goal, Christian Brandt received a penalty for delay of game.
That penalty would come back to haunt Campbell River as Cody Hodges’ power play goal 30 seconds later pulled the Cougars to within one, setting the stage for a wild and wooly third period.
It looked as though the Cougars would suffer their second loss in a row until the goal from Moloney. From 20 feet out, Moloney wired a slap shot that beat Adam Derochie high to his blocker side.
Hearts pounded and jaws dropped when Garret Brisebois found himself on a breakaway only to get turned aside by Ciurro just over a minute later.
Then at 9:59, Britton received a five minute major for checking-to-the-head and an automatic game misconduct to give Victoria an extended power play. But the best chance came when Rosolowsky, who scored earlier, was stopped on a shorthanded breakaway by Ciurro.
Five minutes of four-on-four and another five minutes of three-on-three solved nothing – ending the game in a draw.
Shots on goal favoured Campbell River 37-34 despite getting outshot 7-3 in overtime.
Victoria went 1-for-4 with the man advantage; meanwhile, the Storm went 1-for-7.
Around the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League this afternoon: Saanich Braves 3, Kerry Park Islanders 3. Comox Valley Glacier Kings 5, Oceanside Generals 2.
Next game for the Cougars is Thursday, October 1 against the Nanaimo Buccaneers. Game time at the Nanaimo Ice Centre, located at 750 Third Street, is 7:15 p.m.
1st star, Nathan Looysen (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Kobe Oishi (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
3rd star, Anthony Ciurro (Saves: 33, Save Percentage: .892)