ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars received a scare from the Peninsula Panthers Thursday night.
With its win streak in jeopardy, Victoria managed to pull off a remarkable comeback.
Brett Lervold forced extra time with a goal late in the third period and Lane Vandewetering scored midway through double overtime as the Cougars rallied for a 5-4 win at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.
After the goal, Vandewetering was mobbed by his teammates.
Anthony Ciurro had 24 saves for Victoria (30-4-1-0).
The game was halted at the 7:17 mark of the third period when a sheet of plexiglass popped out. Referee Jake Podann ordered both teams back to their respective dressing rooms while the problem was being resolved.
Victoria and Peninsula were tied 2-2 at that point.
The game was delayed 48 minutes as maintenance crew worked frantically to get the problem fixed.
When play resumed, both teams were reenergized.
The Cougars took a 3-2 lead at the 7:41 mark on a goal from Dom Kolbeins.
But at 12:17, Ben Dawson scored the equalizer when Ciurro was unable to reach back to stop the puck in midair with his glove.
Peninsula (16-17-1-3) took the lead for the second time in the game when Grayden Hohl banged home a Spencer Loverock rebound at 14:06. Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Jesse Kestenbaum who was assessed a penalty for a check to the head on Panthers’ Ben Meyerink.
The lead was short-lived though as Lervold scored 56 seconds later as he took a cross-ice feed from Vandewetering and slid the puck past Shawn Parkinson and into the back of the net.
Five minutes of four-on-four solved nothing so the teams went to three-on-three.
With lots of room to skate, Ryan Buse gathered the puck in his own zone and fed a perfect pass to Vandewetering at the far blue line. On his off wing, Vandewetering made a nice move to get around a Peninsula defender before firing the puck over Parkinson for the game winner.
Victoria outshot the Panthers 5-1 in overtime.
For only the ninth time this season, the Cougars did not open the scoring.
Cam Thompson, who has great potential and a bright future, capitalized on a giveaway by Buse in his own zone at 2:23 of the first period. The 17-year-old rookie now has 20 goals on the season.
Victoria would take the lead into the first intermission on goals from Kurtis Gamble and Vandewetering.
A power play goal from Ryan Warner with 5.7 seconds remaining in the middle frame tied the game setting the stage for a wild and wooly third period.
Parkinson made 11 saves in that period and turned aside 37 shots overall for the Panthers which lost their second straight game.
The Cougars finished a dismal 0-for-6 on the power play; meanwhile, Peninsula went 2-for-7.
John Kretzschmar chipped in with a pair of assists for Victoria.
Making his Cougars debut was 20-year-old defenseman Bryton Beattie. The Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan native was acquired from the St. Paul Canadiens of the North Eastern Alberta Junior B Hockey League where he registered six goals and 17 assists for 23 points in 24 games.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL, Brandon McReynolds scored twice and Marcus Gloss made 31 saves to lead the visiting Comox Valley Glacier Kings to a 6-2 victory over the Nanaimo Buccaneers.
Next game for Victoria is Thursday, January 14 against the Westshore Wolves. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
1st star, Lane Vandewetering (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Cam Thompson (Goals: 1, Assists: 2)
3rd star, Dom Kolbeins (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)