ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Grayden Hohl scored three goals and added one assist to lead the hometown Victoria Cougars to a 7-2 win over the Peninsula Panthers in one of two VIJHL games played on Thursday night.
Victoria improved to 10-4-0-3 on the season as they scored three times at even strength, three times on the power play, and once while playing shorthanded.
Also scoring for the Cougars were Avery Hill, James Scott, and Owen Dalman with a pair.
Nick Gomerich chipped in with four assists while Ryan Vorster, who was named the game’s third star, lent a helping hand on three separate occasions.
Making his sixth start in net for Victoria was Justin Anderson. The six-foot-four, 205-pound goaltender from Red Deer, Alberta, stopped 16 shots for his fifth win.
After playing a so-so opening 20 minutes, the Cougars exploded for five unanswered second period goals to go up 7-1 after two periods.
Peninsula lost its third game in a row to fall to 2-14-0-3. Brad Tippett and his troops have been outscored 17-7 during that span.
All in all, it was a gusty effort by a young talented Peninsula team who trailed 2-1 after one period.
Marshall Brown, who missed the first 14 games of the season due to a broken leg, opened the scoring on a partial breakaway 4:29 in. After a miscue by a Victoria defender at centre ice, Brown skated the other way with the puck and beat Anderson with a forehand-backhand deke for his fourth goal in five games.
The Cougars tied the game moments later on the power play. With Holden Cochrane in the penalty box for cross-checking, Hohl beat netminder Liam Tutte from the side of the net at 10:48.
After working the puck out of the corner and skating to the inner hash marks of the right faceoff circle, Dalman scored the go-ahead goal at 16:55 with a well-placed wrist shot.
Despite getting outshot 16-5 in the period, Peninsula seemed to have the fresher legs and edge in play.
After successfully killing off a Jake Calverley charging penalty assessed at the 20 minute mark of period one, the Cougars put their nose to the grindstone.
At 3:21, Hill squeezed a point shot that beat Tutte five-hole for a power play goal.
Tutte, who took a Vorster slap shot off the mask, was too wobbly to stop Scott from scoring on the rebound thirty seconds later.
There was a scary moment for Michael Sproule as he took a dangerous hit to the head from Kenny Britton that sent him lying flat on the ice. The Panthers leading scorer was helped off the ice and did not return.
Britton received a five-minute major and an automatic game misconduct.
With Calverley already in the sin bin, Peninsula had an extended man advantage for one minute and 26-seconds. But the Panthers, who are ranked dead last in the VIJHL in power play efficiency, could not capitalize.
Victoria went ahead 5-1 on a shorthanded goal from Hohl at 12:43. Badly beaten on the short side, Tutte was pulled after allowing five goals on 23 shots.
Dalman padded the lead at 14:57 after sliding the puck past Shawn Parkinson. Then with 51.5 seconds remaining in the period, Hohl completed the hat trick with Shota Yamaoto watching the proceedings from the penalty box.
The game remained 7-1 until the 15:21 mark of the third period when Hermsen rounded out the scoring on the power play.
The Cougars went 3-for-7 with the man advantage; meanwhile, Peninsula went 1-for-5.
Parkinson made 24 saves in relief.
Affiliate players Nick Looysen of Victoria and Josh Lingard of the Panthers played well for their respective teams.
The Cougars have scored 14 goals in their last two games.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL, John Hawthorne stopped all 23 shots in relief as the Nanaimo Buccaneers erased a two goal deficit to beat the Oceanside Generals 7-2 in front of 250 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
Next game for Victoria is Saturday, November 5 versus the Kerry Park Islanders. Game time at the Kerry Park Recreation Centre, located at 1035 Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Road, is 7:30 p.m.