ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars (19-4-1-0) won their ninth straight game following a 4-2 victory over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings (11-11-0-3).
Sunday afternoon’s game marked the halfway point of the season for Victoria who trails the No. 1 ranked Kimberley Dynamiters by a mere .007 percentage points.
Nathan Looysen, who was named the game’s first star, scored twice to extend his point streak to 18 games.
The two teams were tied 1-1 after one period before Victoria took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
Looysen opened the scoring at 2:55 when Glacier Kings goalie Braddock Otton could not corral a rebound. From the point, Austin Wilk fired a lazy shot on goal. Otton put his paddle along the ice to stop the shot but the puck rolled down the shaft and onto the stick of Looysen for one of the easiest goals of his career.
Comox Valley, who was the last team to beat the Cougars, tied the game when Ronnie Wilkie took a centering feed from Grayden McInnes and beat Gregory Maggio with a wrist shot at 11:42.
There was no scoring until the 11:13 mark of the second period. Shaking off a defender draped behind him, Cody Hodges still managed to convert top shelf to give Victoria a 2-1 lead. Dom Kolbeins was in the penalty box at the time of the goal.
With just under two minutes remaining in the period, the Glacier Kings thought they scored the tying goal but the puck grazed the post and stayed out.
Kolbeins made amends for his earlier penalty when his shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle squirted past Otton at 4:06 of the third period.
30 seconds later and in dramatic fashion, McInnes beat Maggio five-hole to cut the deficit back to one.
Wilk, who had a fabulous game, saved a goal by braking up an odd man rush with five minutes remaining.
That defensive play from Wilk proved to be the turning point as the Cougars would go on to score the insurance marker with under two minutes to play. From in front of the Comox Valley net, Lane Vandewetering fed the puck over to Looysen who recorded his 19th goal of the season and league leading 58th point.
Maggio, who won the battle of the backups, stopped 29 shots for his fifth straight win.
Acquired from the Oceanside Generals five weeks ago, Otton made 34 saves.
Both teams finished 0-for-5 on the power play.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL, Aaron Brewer, Alex Brewer, and Christian Brandt recorded two points apiece to lead the Campbell River Storm to a 6-2 win over the Saanich Braves in front of 547 spectators at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena.
Next game for Victoria is Thursday, November 26 against the Nanaimo Buccaneers. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
1st star, Nathan Looysen (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Dom Kolbeins (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)
3rd star, Grayden McInnes (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)