The Victoria Cougars (19-4-1-0) host the Nanaimo Buccaneers (12-10-1-2) in a non-divisional showdown this Thursday.
Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
Armed with the league’s best offense, Victoria goes for its tenth straight win.
The Cougars, which lead the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League with 141 goals, made it nine in a row last Sunday following a 4-2 victory over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
Cody Hodges scored shorthanded at 11:13 of the second period to give him 13 goals in his last nine games. Dom Kolbeins extended his point streak to 22 games after chipping in with a goal. And Nathan Looysen, who recorded two goals and one assist, continues to lead the VIJHL in scoring with 58 points.
In between the pipes for Victoria was former Buccaneer goalie Gregory Maggio.
The Cougars have not lost a game since their October 24 defeat at the hands of Comox Valley. Mark Van Helvoirt and his troops are also undefeated on home ice.
Fast forward one year, the Victoria offense has scored 32 more goals than they did in 2014-15.
The line of Hodges/Kolbeins/Looysen has combined for 63 goals and 96 assists for 159 points. Despite the explosive numbers from these three players, the Cougars have received balanced production from the top to the bottom of their roster. Their energy line of Kenny Britton/Akila Sato-Gaudreau/James Scott provides speed, youth, and offensive creativity.
Victoria is averaging 37.9 shots on goal while allowing an average of 24.3 shots against.
All teams go though peaks and valleys and the Buccaneers are no exception.
After going 8-3-0-0 in October and laying claim to first place for a bit in the North Island Division, Nanaimo has fallen on hard times. The Buccaneers are winless in six games and currently hold a slim two-point lead on third place Comox Valley.
Jordan Levesque leads all Nanaimo scorers with 38 points. The four-year veteran sits fifth in league scoring behind Looysen, Hodges, Gage Colpron of the Campbell River Storm, and Kolbeins.
Both teams have met only once so far this season, October 1 in Nanaimo, with the Cougars coming away with a 4-1 victory.
Looysen and Trent Bell of the Buccaneers lead the league with three shorthanded goals apiece.
STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 39 points, South Island Division. Nanaimo – 2nd place, 27 points, North Island Division
OFFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 5.88 goals for per game. Nanaimo – T4th place, 3.56 goals for per game
DEFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 1.75 goals against per game. Nanaimo – 3rd place, 3.44 goals against per game
TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Cody Hodges, 24 goals; Nathan Looysen, 39 assists; Nathan Looysen, 58 points; Kenny Britton, 80 penalty minutes. Nanaimo – Trent Bell, 15 goals; Jordan Levesque, 27 assists; Jordan Levesque, 38 points; Will McNamara, 92 penalty minutes
GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Anthony Ciurro (1.62 goals against average, .936 save percentage); Gregory Maggio (1.67 goals against average, .932 save percentage). Nanaimo – Alex Orth (3.24 goals against average, .893 save percentage); Liam Young (3.27 goals against average, .879 save percentage)
POWER PLAY: Victoria – 1st place, 43-for-127, 33.86 percent. Nanaimo – 4th place, 22-for-118, 18.64 percent
PENALTY KILL: Victoria – 1st place, 114-for-124, 91.94 percent. Nanaimo – 3rd place, 125-for-149, 83.89 percent
SEASON SERIES: Victoria leads, 1-0-0-0
PAST RESULTS/FUTURE MEETINGS:
October 1, 2015. Victoria Cougars 4 @ Nanaimo Buccaneers 1
January 3, 2016. Victoria Cougars @ Nanaimo Buccaneers
January 24, 2016. Nanaimo Buccaneers @ Victoria Cougars
HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 11-0-1-0. Nanaimo – Away, 8-5-1-0
STREAKS: Victoria, 9-0-0-0. Nanaimo, 0-6-0-0
LAST TEN: Victoria, 9-1-0-0. Nanaimo, 3-6-0-1