ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Anthony Ciurro was solid yet again.
The veteran goaltender made 33 saves for his third win in a row, helping the Victoria Cougars past the Westshore Wolves 4-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Grayden Hohl had a goal and an assist while Nick Gomerich, James Scott, and Tyler Vanuden also lit the lamp.
The win extended Victoria’s win streak to four games and helped them pull to within a point of the South Island Division leading Saanich Braves.
Making his debut was Dom Kolbeins who was acquired from the Campbell River Storm earlier in the day. Kolbeins skated on a line with Gomerich and Hohl and at no point did he look out of place.
But it was Ciurro who carried much if not all of the load on his shoulders in a game where the Cougars were outshot 34-20 including 13-5 in the third period.
Victoria could not have asked any more from him.
Ciurro has compiled a goals against average of 1.33 and a save percentage of .958 in his last three games.
Following a scoreless first period, Gomerich opened the scoring at 9:30 of the middle frame with a power play goal. After taking a great feed from down low from Hohl, Gomerich wired a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Westshore netminder Jordan Spandli for his seventh goal of the season.
The Cougars made it 2-0 on a shorthanded goal from Scott at 15:42. On an odd man rush, Scott slammed home an Akila Sato-Gaudreau centering pass over Spandli who was sprawled out on the ice.
Scott extended his point streak to four games with the goal.
Then with 3:26 remaining in the period, it looked as though the Wolves pulled to within a goal when Keegan Durrance, Keiran Cardinal, and Clark Pickup were all banging at the puck during a goal mouth scramble.
But after a discussion with linesmen Brock Anderson and Marko Casavant, referee Jake Podann ruled no goal. Livid, Westshore head coach Jackson Penney immediately wanted an explanation from Podann.
Victoria (12-4-0-3) built a three-goal cushion just 2:13 into the third period when Vanuden redirected a centering pass from Kaelen Anderson past Spandli. For Vanuden, the goal was his third in two games.
There was no scoring until the 10:20 mark. Playing shorthanded, Brandon Tutte was able to skate in all alone and tuck the puck through the legs of Ciurro. Assisting on Tutte’s seventh goal of the season were Jake Calnan and Michael Jensen.
Trailing 3-1 and within striking distance, the Wolves took an untimely penalty for too many men on the ice with just over three-and-a-half minutes remaining in regulation.
Fortunately for Westshore, they did not concede a goal.
But with time winding down and Spandli on the bench for an extra attacker, Hohl scored unassisted into an empty net with 27 ticks on the clock.
Spandli made 16 saves for the Wolves (6-10-1-1) who dropped their fourth straight game.
The Cougars finished 1-for-6 on the power play. Westshore went 0-for-4.
Avery Hill, Jake Calverley, and Mitch Popp chipped in with an assist each for Victoria.
Next game for the Cougars is Tuesday, November 8 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.
BAYVIEW PLACE STARS OF THE GAME:
1st star, Nick Gomerich (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)
2nd star, Anthony Ciurro (Saves: 33, Save Percentage: .971)
3rd star, James Scott (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)