Victoria Cougars move Five Points ahead of The Saanich Braves for Top Spot in the Division

With the win, Victoria moved five points ahead of the idle Saanich Braves for top spot in the South Island Division.

Victoria Cougars #5 Mattson Haggard (Photo- Jay Wallace ISN )

ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Kaelen Anderson scored twice and Anthony Ciurro made 32 saves to lead the Victoria Cougars past the Nanaimo Buccaneers 6-2 on a rainy Thursday night in Esquimalt.

With the win, Victoria moved five points ahead of the idle Saanich Braves for top spot in the South Island Division.

Saanich does have three games in hand on the Cougars (18-5-0-3).

Tyler Vanuden, Tyler Pang, and Jake Calverley also scored for Victoria which overcame a pair of one-goal deficits to extend its winning streak to five games.

The teams play again Saturday night at the Nanaimo Ice Centre to complete a midseason home-and-home series.

Cam Nickerson and Jayden Schubert replied for the Buccaneers (13-12-0-0) while John Hawthorne stopped 28 shots in a losing cause.

Tied 2-2 after 20 minutes, Victoria scored once in the second period before tacking on three more goals in the third.

James Scott gave the Cougars their first lead of the game at 4:59 of the middle frame.  Johnny-on-the-spot, Scott banged home an Akila Sato-Gaudreau rebound from the edge of the blue paint for his eighth goal of the season.

The score remained 3-2 in favour of Victoria until the 6:05 mark of the third period.

From the blue line, Calverley made a perfect slap pass onto the stick of Anderson who redirected the puck into the top corner of the net.

Calverley scored nearly eight minutes later off a cross-crease pass from Kyle Wade.  Sitting in the penalty box at the time of the goal was Schubert who had 32 seconds remaining in his cross-checking penalty.

The Cougars finished 2-for-3 on the man advantage while Nanaimo was 1-for-8.

Anderson put the final nail in the Buccaneers coffin with one minute and 38-seconds remaining in regulation.  The native of Langley, B.C. pounced on a loose puck for his second goal of the game.

Nanaimo, which had its three game winning streak stopped, opened the scoring on a power play goal from Nickerson at 4:44 of the opening period.

Vanuden tied the game exactly seven minutes later off a shorthanded breakaway.

Schubert restored the Buccaneers lead at 14:17 before Pang, on a power play, tied the game with 2.3 seconds remaining in the period.

Making his debut for Victoria was Branden Tangney who was acquired from the Westshore Wolves in exchange for Mitch Popp and Gregory Maggio earlier in the week.  Tangney picked up an assist on the Cougars fifth goal.

The season series is now tied up at one win apiece.  Nanaimo beat the Cougars 3-0 back in the third week of October.

Both Avery Hill and Wade chipped in with two assists.

Next game for Victoria is Saturday, November 26 versus the Buccaneers.  Game time at the Nanaimo Ice Centre, located at 750 Third Street, is 7:15 p.m.



1st star, Avery Hill (Goals:  0, Assists:  2)

2nd star, Anthony Ciurro (Saves:  32, Save Percentage:  .941)

3rd star, Kaelen Anderson (Goals:  2, Assists:  0)