A lot to be decided in VIJHL this week

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The Victoria Cougars face the Kerry Park Islanders this Thursday in a game that could very well be a preview of a first round playoff matchup.

Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.

Thursday also marks the final regular season home game for Victoria.

Mark Van Helvoirt’s squad is 7-0-0-0 in the season series, having outscored the Islanders 44-7.  These two teams met last Saturday with Victoria coming away with a 6-1 win.  John Kretzschmar scored three goals and added one assist while goaltender Anthony Ciurro stopped 29 shots.

If the playoffs were to start today, the No. 1 seed Cougars would face the No. 4 seed Islanders in a best-of-seven series.

Already having clinched first place in the South Island Division, Victoria (38-5-1-1) has secured home ice advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.  The Cougars can secure home ice advantage throughout the postseason if they can win one of their final three games.

On the season, Nathan Looysen of Victoria has 40 goals and 61 assists for 101 points.  He currently leads the VIJHL in scoring, ten points ahead of teammate Cody Hodges.

The Islanders (21-23-2-0) are looking to move up in the South Island Division standings.  But their push has taken a hit of late, losing once to the last-place Saanich Braves and twice to the Westshore Wolves, a team that they are trying to catch.

Not wanting to face the Cougars in the first round of the 2016 VIJHL Playoffs, Kerry Park currently sits four points back of the second-place Peninsula Panthers and just two points back of the third-place Wolves who conclude their regular season versus Saanich this Wednesday.

The Islanders have two games remaining, while Peninsula has just the one – Friday at home against the Oceanside Generals.

Elsewhere in the VIJHL on Thursday, Alex Brewer and the Campbell River Storm visit Jake Calverley and the Nanaimo Buccaneers at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

STANDINGS:  Victoria – 1st place, 78 points, South Island Division.  Kerry Park – 4th place, 44 points, South Island Division

OFFENSE:  Victoria – 1st place, 5.38 goals for per game.  Kerry Park – 8th place, 2.96 goals for per game

DEFENSE:  Victoria – 1st place, 1.84 goals against per game.  Kerry Park – 5th place, 3.89 goals against per game

TEAM LEADERS:  Victoria – Nathan Looysen, 40 goals; Nathan Looysen, 61 assists; Nathan Looysen, 101 points; Kenny Britton, 126 penalty minutes.  Kerry Park – Ryan Paisley, 17 goals; Keenan Eddy, 22 assists; Ryan Paisley, Keenan Eddy, 34 points; Corey Peterson, 118 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS:  Victoria – Anthony Ciurro (1.68 goals against average, .931 save percentage); Gregory Maggio (2.00 goals against average, .908 save percentage).  Kerry Park – Chase Anderson (3.31 goals against average, .900 save percentage); Ty Rennie (4.17 goals against average, .885 save percentage)

POWER PLAY:  Victoria – 1st place, 72-for-253, 28.46 percent.  Kerry Park – 6th place, 31-for-202, 15.35 percent

PENALTY KILL:  Victoria – 1st place, 211-for-237, 89.03 percent.  Kerry Park – 7th place, 198-for-253, 78.26 percent

SEASON SERIES:  Victoria leads, 7-0-0-0

PAST RESULTS/FUTURE MEETINGS:

September 10, 2015.  Kerry Park Islanders 3 @ Victoria Cougars 6

September 19, 2015.  Victoria Cougars 5 @ Kerry Park Islanders 0

October 25, 2015.  Victoria Cougars 5 @ Kerry Park Islanders 0

November 12, 2015.  Kerry Park Islanders 0 @ Victoria Cougars 8

November 19, 2015.  Kerry Park Islanders 0 @ Victoria Cougars 7

December 12, 2015.  Victoria Cougars 7 @ Kerry Park Islanders 3

February 13, 2016.  Victoria Cougars 6 @ Kerry Park Islanders 1

HOME/AWAY RECORDS:  Victoria – Home, 20-1-1-1.  Kerry Park – Away, 9-14-0-0

STREAKS:  Victoria, 5-0-0-0.  Kerry Park, 0-5-1-0

LAST TEN:  Victoria, 8-1-0-1.  Kerry Park, 3-6-1-0

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