ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Tyler Vanuden scored the game winner in overtime to propel the Victoria Cougars past the Kerry Park Islanders 4-3 in a come from behind victory on Thursday night.
The win snaps a two game losing streak for Victoria.
After taking a pass from Owen Dalman at the top of the left faceoff circle, Vanuden moved in alone on goal and beat Rett Rook with a sensational deke at 1:13 of extra time.
Akila Sato-Gaudreau, Nick Gomerich, and Dalman also scored for the Cougars (7-3-0-1) who pulled to within a point of the South Island Division leading Saanich Braves.
Backup goalie Justin Anderson turned aside 27 of the 30 shots he faced to earn his fourth win in as many games.
Jarret Malloch, Connor Bissett, and Will Connors replied for Kerry Park (6-4-0-1) who had its two game win streak come to a grinding halt. Making his sixth start of the season, Rook made 34 saves.
The Islanders led 3-1 late in the second period but could not hold on.
Dalman opened the scoring two minutes in when he pounced on a Carl Ewert rebound for his team leading sixth goal.
Kerry Park notched the equalizer at 16:42 after Ty Smith had his rebound converted into a goal by Malloch.
And with all eyes on Kenny Britton and Smith pushing and shoving each other behind the play, Anderson gift wrapped an easy goal for Bissett with 4.5 seconds remaining in the first period.
The Islanders went ahead 3-1 at the 7:37 mark of the middle frame when Connors took a beautiful backhand pass from Parker Ellis and wristed the puck past Anderson.
A scary moment took place behind the Kerry Park net with less than a minute to go in the period when Connors was wallpapered into the boards by Dalman. Connors was slow to get up but was able to skate to the bench under his own power.
With time winding down, Sato-Gaudreau pulled Victoria to within a goal after he wired the puck past Rook from the inner hash marks of the right faceoff circle with 17.3 seconds remaining in the period.
The line of Liam Kinshella, James Scott, and Sato-Gaudreau were the best players out on the ice for the Cougars all night long.
Kayden Peck put Victoria on its fourth power play after taking a two-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct and a ten minute misconduct for arguing the initial call 37 seconds into the third period.
And with 41 seconds remaining in the penalty, Gomerich beat Rook five-hole at 1:56 to knot the game at 3-3.
The Cougars finished 1-for-5 with the man advantage; meanwhile, Kerry Park went 0-for-2.
Anderson made a huge game saving save on Eric LeBlanc from point blank range with just over four minutes to play in regulation.
Victoria has won both meetings with the Islanders this season.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL, John Hawthorne made 23 saves as the Nanaimo Buccaneers beat the Saanich Braves 3-1 in front of 170 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
Next game for Victoria is Friday, October 14 versus the Saanich Braves. Game time at G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre, located at 3100 Tillicum Road, is 6:30 p.m.
BAYVIEW PLACE STARS OF THE GAME:
1st star, Tyler Vanuden (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)
2nd star, Owen Dalman (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
3rd star, Jarret Malloch (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)