Cougs Back On Track

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ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars rebounded Thursday with a convincing 6-1 win over the Peninsula Panthers.

It was a fast-paced and entertaining affair with plenty of big hits.

John Kretzschmar scored twice while Austin Wilk, Nathan Looysen, Kenny Britton, and newcomer Jordan Passmore each added singles for Victoria who had its 23 game winning streak snapped last Sunday.

The Cougars (34-4-1-1) seemed to take their frustration from that loss out on Peninsula.  Shawn Parkinson was bombarded with rubber the moment the puck dropped.

Simply put, the Panthers ran into a buzz saw.

Victoria peppered Parkinson with 55 shots.

Wilk opened the scoring at 4:20 when he took a rebound off the end boards and tucked the puck behind Parkinson for his fifth goal of the season.

Then on a delayed penalty to Ryan Warner and Gregory Maggio at the bench for an extra attacker, Kretzschmar took a stretch pass from Wilk and beat Parkinson blocker side during a breakaway at 16:51.

Looysen snapped a two-game scoring drought at 18:44 after he took a cross ice feed from Brett Lervold and fooled Parkinson with a nice backhand to forehand move.

After getting outshot 19-6 in the first period, Peninsula regrouped and cut the lead to two when Grayden Hohl redirected a Cam Thompson pass behind Maggio at the seven minute of the middle frame.

But at 11:03, the Cougars restored their three goal lead.  Passmore positioned himself in front of the net and tipped a Jesse Kestenbaum point shot past Parkinson.

Passmore, a recent signee, was on a line with Dom Kolbeins and Cody Hodges whom he played with in Chase during his KIJHL days.

There was no scoring until the 3:22 mark of the third period when Britton scored his fourth goal in as many games.  Assisting on the goal were Liam Kinshella and Passmore.

Maggio, who faced a total of 18 shots overall, came up with a huge breakaway save on Ty Tremblay midway through the period.

It was a testy third period with several coincidental minors doled out to each team by referee Riley Friesen.

Kretzschmar would score his second goal of the night with 10.9 seconds remaining in regulation to seal the deal.

Both teams went scoreless with the man advantage.  The Cougars failed to score on four power play opportunities while Peninsula was scoreless on three chances.

Lervold finished with a pair of assists while singles went to Ryan Buse, Kurtis Gamble, Lane Vandewetering, and Ryan Vorster.

The Panthers (18-20-1-4), who were bottled up in their own zone for the most part, have now lost three straight.

Elsewhere in the VIJHL:  Nanaimo Buccaneers 11, Saanich Braves 1.  Westshore Wolves 5, Kerry Park Islanders 3.

Next game for Victoria is Friday, January 29 against the Saanich Braves.  Game time at Pearkes Recreation Centre, located at 3100 Tillicum Road, is 6:30 p.m.

THREE STARS:

1st star, Austin Wilk (Goals:  1, Assists:  1)

2nd star, John Kretzschmar (Goals:  2, Assists:  0)

3rd star, Lane Vandewetering (Goals:  0, Assists:  1)

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