Two of the hottest teams in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League will square off against each other this Thursday as the Victoria Cougars (15-4-1-0) host the Kerry Park Islanders (10-9-1-0) in a South Island Division showdown.
Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
Thursday is also Department of National Defense Night. All military personnel showing valid military identification will be admitted into the game free of charge.
Victoria goes for a season-high six straight wins while attempting to remain undefeated on home ice.
Their winning percentage of .775 ranks third to the Kimberley Dynamiters (.895) of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and Mission City Outlaws (.825) of the Pacific Junior Hockey League.
With 115 goals in 20 games, no team in the VIJHL has scored more than the Cougars. Their 37 goals allowed are the lowest in the league as well.
Victoria extended its winning streak last Thursday after beating the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 4-3.
Cody Hodges scored twice against Comox Valley to give him nine goals in his last five games. Dom Kolbeins extended his point streak to 18 games after chipping in with a goal and an assist. And Nathan Looysen continues to lead the VIJHL in scoring with 47 points after adding two more assists to his already impressive résumé.
Beating the Cougars in Victoria has been just impossible for opposing teams. The Cougars are 8-0-1-0 at the A.B.S.C. and have won the last five games there.
Mark Van Helvoirt is still dealing with several key injuries to a number of his players. Kurtis Gamble, Liam Kinshella, John Kretzschmar, Lane Vandewetering, and Austin Wilk are all on the disabled list for Victoria.
Considering whom they had to play, no one would have guessed that the Islanders would enter Week 10 on a three-game winning streak. Wins over the Westshore Wolves, Nanaimo Buccaneers, and Saanich Braves has Kerry Park only two points behind the second-place Wolves and ten points behind the South Island Division leading Cougars.
During their three-game winning streak, the upstart Islanders have outscored their opposition 15-9.
Keenan Eddy, who co-leads Kerry Park in scoring with 16 points, sustained a separated shoulder during a game on November 5 and will be out of action for three to four weeks.
When the Islanders visit, expect a physical game. Against Victoria this season, Kerry Park has gift wrapped the Cougars 21 power play opportunities over three games. The Islanders, who have allowed eight power play goals to Victoria, can ill afford to make as many visits to the penalty box as they have.
Lynden Eddy is currently on a four-game point streak for Kerry Park, amassing two goals and five assists during that span. On three-game point streaks are Kyle Green and Zack Smith.
The Cougars have won all three meeting between the teams this season by scores of 6-3, 5-0, and 5-0.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL, Nick Kean and the Saanich Braves visit Cory Hatcher and the Westshore Wolves at The Q Centre while Jordan Levesque and the Nanaimo Buccaneers host Gage Colpron and the Campbell River Storm at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 31 points, South Island Division. Kerry Park – 3rd place, 21 points, South Island Division
OFFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 5.75 goals for per game. Kerry Park – 8th place, 2.85 goals for per game
DEFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 1.85 goals against per game. Kerry Park – 5th place, 3.55 goals against per game
TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Cody Hodges, 20 goals; Nathan Looysen, 33 assists; Nathan Looysen, 47 points; Kurtis Gamble, 64 penalty minutes. Kerry Park – Zack Smith, 10 goals; Keenan Eddy, 12 assists; Corey Peterson, Keenan Eddy, 16 points; Patrick Poets, 97 penalty minutes
GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Anthony Ciurro (1.64 goals against average, .935 save percentage); Greg Maggio (2.01 goals against average, .919 save percentage). Kerry Park – Chase Anderson (3.11 goals against average, .904 save percentage); Ty Rennie (3.45 goals against average, .906 save percentage)
POWER PLAY: Victoria – 1st place, 34-for-104, 32.69 percent. Kerry Park – 4th place, 15-for-89, 16.85 percent
PENALTY KILL: Victoria – 1st place, 100-for-110, 90.91 percent. Kerry Park – 7th place, 92-for-117, 78.63 percent
SEASON SERIES: Victoria leads, 3-0-0-0
PAST RESULTS/FUTURE MEETINGS:
September 10, 2015. Kerry Park Islanders 3 @ Victoria Cougars 6
September 19, 2015. Victoria Cougars 5 @ Kerry Park Islanders 0
October 25, 2015. Victoria Cougars 5 @ Kerry Park Islanders 0
November 19, 2015. Kerry Park Islanders @ Victoria Cougars
December 12, 2015. Victoria Cougars @ Kerry Park Islanders
February 13, 2016. Victoria Cougars @ Kerry Park Islanders
February 18, 2016. Kerry Park Islanders @ Victoria Cougars
HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 8-0-1-0. Kerry Park – Away, 3-4-0-0
STREAKS: Victoria, 5-0-0-0. Kerry Park, 3-0-0-0
LAST TEN: Victoria, 8-2-0-0. Kerry Park, 7-3-0-0