COLWOOD, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars are one win away from advancing to the next round of the VIJHL playoffs.

Tyler Vanuden scored the game winner as Victoria topped the Westshore Wolves 3-2 Wednesday to take a 3-1 series lead.

With Nicholas Polomark in the sin bin, Vanuden took a short pass from Avery Hill and from the inner hash marks of the left faceoff circle, wired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Jordan Spandli with just over four minutes remaining in regulation.

Game 5 goes Thursday.

It was 1-1 after one period and 2-1 for the Cougars after two.

Victoria opened the scoring on a goal from Branden Tangney.  From the top of the blue paint, the former Wolves forward banged the puck home for his second goal of the playoffs at 8:59.

Zach Benson tied the game with a power play marker at 17:21 when his wrist shot from just inside the blue line sailed past Anthony Ciurro.

Both goalies were again stellar, facing 43 shots each.

A wide-open Grayden Hohl finished off a pretty backdoor feed from Dom Kolbeins at 11:30 for the only goal of the middle frame.

The Cougars were enjoying a two-man advantage at the time of the goal.

Polomark tied the game with a seeing-eye shot from the high slot at 6:58 of the third period.

After Polomark was called for high-sticking, it only took mere seconds for Victoria to regain the lead for good.

Spandli was pulled for an extra attacker late in the game but Westshore could not find the equalizer.

Due to a rash of injuries, the Cougars brought in 16-year-0lds Hunter Gruben, Trevor Isaksson, and Rick Takeda.  Wearing full face shields, the three rookies did not look out of place.

Elsewhere in the VIJHL, Carter Hikichi potted four goals to lead the Campbell River Storm to a 10-6 win and a four-game sweep over the Peninsula Panthers in front of 687 at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena.

Next game for Victoria is Thursday, March 2 versus the Westshore Wolves.  Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.



1st star, Grayden Hohl (Goals:  1, Assists:  0)

2nd star, Anthony Ciurro (Saves:  41, Save Percentage:  .953)

3rd star, Jordan Spandli (Saves:  40, Save Percentage:  .930)