ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Nathan Looysen scored at 14:38 of double overtime to lead the Victoria Cougars past the Campbell River Storm 3-2 in Game 1 of the 2016 VIJHL Championship Series on Sunday afternoon.
62 seconds after Storm forward Cole Slaney was called for goaltender interference, Looysen took a pass from Ryan Vorster and from the outer edge of the high slot, picked the top corner to beat Riley Welyk.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Campbell River.
After the goal, the fans at the Archie Browning Sports Centre went bonkers as Looysen was mobbed by his teammates.
All three of Victoria’s goals came on the power play.
Welyk got the start in net, replacing Jake Mullen who is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Wearing the ball cap Sunday afternoon was Saanich Braves goaltender Riley Mathieson. With both affiliate goalies unavailable, the Storm got authorization from BC Hockey to use Mathieson as a backup.
Both teams had oodles of chances in the two extra periods.
During an odd-man rush, Cody Hodges had his scoring attempt turned aside by the blocker of Welyk in the first overtime. In the second overtime period, Hodges was stymied again, this time by the toe of Welyk.
The Storm had their chances to end the game as well.
From the slot, Josh Coblenz was thwarted by Anthony Ciurro with 11 seconds remaining in the first overtime. Ciurro came up big again, robbing Alex Rosolowsky with the flash of the leather.
Both teams had 13 shots apiece in the overtime periods.
Jordan Passmore also scored for the Cougars who went 3-for-10 with the man advantage.
But it would be Campbell River who would open the scoring. Austin Steger, who was pinching in from the point, fired a harmless shot from the corner that somehow squirted in between the post and the right pad of Ciurro.
That goal came at 4:32 of the first period.
Just over four minutes later, Passmore batted the puck out of midair to tie the game.
Victoria had three two-man advantages in the period but could not capitalize.
There was no scoring until the 7:51 mark of the second period when Looysen rang the puck off the iron and in.
Midway through the third period, the Storm tied the game on the power play. 22 seconds after Lane Vandewetering received a penalty for checking-from-behind and an automatic game misconduct, Kobe Oishi centered the puck over to Gage Colpron who slid it past the outstretched glove of Ciurro.
On the ensuing play, Ryan Carson hit the goal post for the Cougars.
With eight minutes remaining in the period, Dylan McCann, Aaron Brewer, Trevor Bottomley, Oishi, and Alex Brewer began celebrating a goal. But after a brief discussion between referees Steve Brown and Brady Casparie, the ruling on the play was the puck never crossed the goal line.
A neutral zone turnover near the end of regulation allowed Colin Blake of the Storm to speed away on a breakaway but was stopped by Ciurro who stayed with him all the way.
In the first overtime period, Victoria successfully killed off a tripping penalty to Liam Kinshella.
Campbell River finished 1-for-6 on the power play.
Both goaltenders were sensational as both teams played their usual fast-paced style. Welyk made 52 saves; meanwhile, Ciurro turned aside 34 shots.
Sunday’s game took three hours and 15 minutes to play.
1st star, Nathan Looysen (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)
2nd star, Anthony Ciurro (Saves: 34, Save Percentage: .944)
3rd star, Riley Welyk (Saves: 52, Save Percentage: .945)