SAANICH, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars seem to have the Saanich Braves figured out.
Nick Gomerich scored the game winner on a penalty shot to lead Victoria to a 2-1 win in a key divisional showdown on Friday.
The penalty shot came after a Braves’ defender was whistled for covering his glove on the puck in the crease.
With his teammates cheering him on from one hundred feet away, it did not look like Gomerich would score after he lost control of the puck. But he did manage to regain enough of it to slide the puck behind Bryce Schiebel.
The goal would be Gomerich’s third of the season.
Saanich, which entered the game with a three-point lead over the second place Cougars, lost for only the second time this season. Their only other loss came against Victoria on September 8.
The game was evenly matched with the Cougars holding a 40-32 edge in shots.
Scott Henderson opened the scoring at 17:33 of the first period with Saanich on the power play. Gavin Yee would wrist a shot that Henderson would deflect past Anthony Ciurro.
The lead lasted until the 19:26 mark of the second period with Tyler Pang evening the score at 1-1. On the power play, Pang unleashed a point shot that found an opening over the left shoulder of Schiebel.
Both teams exchanged excellent scoring chances before Gomerich notched the game winner.
Schiebel was pulled for an extra attacker with under a minute to play but to no avail.
The Cougars went 1-for-3 with the man advantage; meanwhile, Saanich finished 1-for-4.
Nick Guerra, who leads all scorers with 14 goals, was held off the score sheet for the first time in seven games. He and Victoria defenseman Jake Calverley were seen jawing at each other all game long.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL: Westshore Wolves 5, Peninsula Panthers 2. Campbell River Storm 4, Oceanside Generals 2.
Next game for Victoria is Friday, September 30 versus the Peninsula Panthers. Game time at the Panorama Recreation Centre, located at 1885 Forest Park Drive, is 7:30 p.m.