ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead before hanging on for a 4-3 win over the Kerry Park Islanders in Game 3 of the VIJHL South Island Division Final on Sunday.
Dom Kolbeins led the way with two goals and two assists.
With the win, the Cougars take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-7 series.
Game 4 goes Tuesday.
Kerry Park pulled to within a goal twice but could not get the equalizer.
Trailing 4-3 late in the third period, the Islanders received their 11th and final power play of the game when Carl Ewert was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking Jarret Malloch in the face.
Kerry Park managed two shots on goal. One of those shots came from a sharp angle off the stick of Kayden Peck and the other from Will Connors who deflected a point shot right at Anthony Ciurro.
During the penalty kill, Tyler Pang came up with a huge shot block on Josh Poland while Avery Hill got his stick in the way of a Brandon Wilson pass.
The Cougars, who led 3-0 after one period and 4-2 after two, came out of the gates like gangbusters by scoring their first three goals in three different ways.
Jordan Passmore opened the scoring with an even strength goal, Tyler Vanuden followed that up with a shorthanded marker, and Kolbeins fired home his first of two goals on the power play.
The final two periods is where the game got lost. The defending VIJHL champions are dealing with a major issue right now; playing 60 minutes on a consistent basis.
Victoria got outshot for the third time in the series, this time 36-33.
18 seconds after stepping out of the penalty box, Passmore took a return pass from Kolbeins and wired the puck past Rett Rook at 10:46.
Victoria went ahead 2-0 at 12:21 when Vanuden swiped a loose puck into the net. Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Kaelen Anderson who had all but 14 seconds expired in his slashing penalty.
Kolbeins recorded his third point of the period after banging home his own rebound with 47.8 seconds remaining until the first intermission. The goal by Kolbeins, his sixth of the playoffs, came with two Islander players in the penalty box.
As in Games 1 and 2, Kerry Park showed their resiliency.
On the doorstep, Sampson McLean scored his third goal of the playoffs from Ty Smith and Garnett Roberts at 8:34.
Then at 12:19 and on another power play, Jacob Malloch tucked the puck under Ciurro during a mad scramble out front.
All of a sudden, it was a one-goal game.
Kolbeins, who has recorded at least a point in his last six games, doubled the lead at 13:54 with a power play goal of his own.
Only one goal was scored in the third period. From the high slot, Caleb Franklin slid the puck five-hole on Ciurro at 2:44.
The Islanders tried to pull Rook for an extra attacker in the last couple of minutes but were unable to do so.
Vanuden chipped in with a pair of assists to go along with his first period goal after getting held off the score sheet in Game 2.
The Cougars went 2-for-5 on the power play; meanwhile, Kerry Park finished 1-for-11.
Next game for Victoria is Tuesday, March 14 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, Dom Kolbeins (Goals: 2, Assists: 2)
2nd star, Anthony Ciurro (Saves: 33, Save Percentage: .917)
3rd star, Tyler Pang (Goals: 0, Assists: 2)