Make it 21 in a row for the Cougars

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ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Cody Hodges and Dom Kolbeins had a goal and an assist each as the Victoria Cougars hung on for a 4-3 win over the Westshore Wolves on Thursday night.

The win clinches another South Island Division title for Victoria.

Also scoring for the Cougars, who extended their winning streak to 21 games, were Ryan Carson and James Scott.

Victoria led 4-0 midway through the third period before the Wolves got things rolling.

Cam Kinsman scored twice on the power play and Brodie Smith scored shorthanded with 39.2 seconds left to cut the deficit to one.  Westshore wasted a solid goaltending performance from Chris Smith who made 27 saves on the night.

For the 27th time this season, Victoria (31-4-1-0) would strike first.

Kolbeins extended his point streak to 34 games after he pounced on a loose puck at the left edge of the crease and chipped it past C. Smith at 7:27 for the only goal of the opening period.

The goal, which was scored on the power play, was assisted by Nathan Looysen and Hodges.

There was no scoring until the 5:35 mark of the second period when the Hodges-Kolbeins-Looysen line would again take to the offensive.

Taking a nice feed from Looysen, Hodges made a nice deke on C. Smith before snipping the puck top shelf for his 31st goal of the season.  That goal extended Hodges point streak to 24 games.

Then at 10:33, Ryan Carson made it 3-0 on a shorthanded goal.  Lane Vandewetering sprung Carson up the middle for a breakaway and the Cougars forward made no mistake by beating C. Smith glove side.

Victoria padded its lead at 9:03 of the third period off a strange play.  Deep in the Cougars zone, Ryan Vorster had his long lead pass chipped ahead by Kenny Britton.  The chip in took a funny bounce off the curved glass leaving C. Smith in no man’s land.  Scott took advantage of the misplay, scoring his first goal since November 1.

Power play goals from Kinsman at 10:27 and 16:55 pulled Westshore to within two.

Then in an unexpected turn of events, Wolves captain Adam Page threw off his gloves and started wailing on Hodges with less than two minutes to play.

After the dust settled, Page amassed a whopping 19 penalty minutes.  Page picked up two minutes for instigating, another two minutes for being the aggressor, five minutes for fighting, and a game misconduct.

Hodges was not penalized on the play.

While playing shorthanded, B. Smith cut the lead to 4-3 after batting in his own rebound past Anthony Ciurro who finished the night with 25 saves.

Westshore went 2-for-7 with the man advantage.  The Cougars finished 1-for-5.

Ryan Lawson made his debut for Victoria after he was acquired from the Kelowna Chiefs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League at the trade deadline.  The 20-year-old forward was physical and showed flashes of brilliance.

The Wolves (17-18-0-3), who received a pair of assists from Tomba Huddlestan, were without their top and third leading scorer in Cory Hatcher and Nathan Gelsinger.

Looysen had two helpers for Victoria to extend his point streak to 30 games.

Elsewhere, Jake Mullen stopped all 23 shots in his VIJHL debut to lead the Campbell River Storm past the Nanaimo Buccaneers 3-0 in a penalty filled game.

Next game for the Cougars is Wednesday, January 20 against the Westshore Wolves.  Game time at The Q Centre, located at 1767 Old Island Highway, is 7:00 p.m.

THREE STARS:

1st star, Cody Hodges (Goals:  1, Assists:  1)

2nd star, Dom Kolbeins (Goals:  1, Assists:  1)

3rd star, Chris Smith (Saves:  27, Save Percentage:  .871)

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