ESQUIMALT, B.C. – It was Groundhog Day all over again.
The Victoria Cougars saw their losing streak extend to two games on Thursday following a 6-3 loss to the Westshore Wolves at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.
Slow starts, penalties, and inconsistency continue to plague Victoria which saw its record drop to 3-2-0-0 on the season.
“We had another poor start today,” Cougars head coach Suneil Karod said.
Victoria simply could not stop Cameron Coutre who on the night scored three times and added one assist. Keegan Durrance chipped in with a goal and two helpers while fellow line mate Cameron Kinsman finished with one assist.
The first period for the Cougars was embarrassing to say the least.
They had 15 shots in which six were blocked and six missed the intended target. Victoria did not register its first of three shots in the period until after the midway point.
Having played and won yesterday, Westshore led 1-0 after one period and 4-3 after two.
“It’s going to be difficult to win games when we continually start in the hole,” Karod said. “We had a good second period but we lost any momentum we had with bad penalties.”
Coutre opened the scoring at 15:41, beating Patrick Ostermann off a one-timer from the inner hash mark of the right faceoff circle.
Victoria tied the game while shorthanded at 1:03 of the second period.
Darwin Lakoduk was able to pull away on a breakaway only to have his backhander sail high. Charging hard to the net was Zefan Pighin who had the puck ricochet off the end glass and off his body for his second goal of the season.
But 48 seconds later and with Liam Kinshella still in the penalty box, Tomba Huddlestan unloaded a wrist shot from the point through traffic to make it 2-1 in favour of the veteran-laden Wolves.
Then from an impossible angle, Kyle Wade fooled Luke Sheldrake to tie the game at 2:28.
Improving to 3-2-0-1 on the season, Westshore regained its one-goal lead at 5:18 on another goal from Coutre.
There was no scoring until the 15:51 mark when Mateo Albinati gobbled up a loose puck in front of the Wolves net and tied the game with a beautiful backhander.
Again, it did not take long for Westshore to respond. Nine seconds later, Coutre slid the puck along the ice beating Ostermann for his third goal of the game.
Early in the third period, Durrance tipped home a Clark Pickup point shot to push the game out of reach.
A late power play with just over three minutes to play in regulation gave the Cougars some hope. With Ostermann pulled for an extra attacker, Victoria could not generate any offense except for a couple of offside infractions.
Keiran Cardinal added an empty net goal with 13.2 seconds remaining.
“Everyone needs to find the next level of their game if we want to be successful,” Karod said.
Special teams affected the Cougars in this outcome as their power play went 0-for-6 while their penalty kill finished 5-for-6.
Shots on goal were 36-35 in favour of Victoria.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL, Mathieu Jallabert and Luc Wilson recorded four points apiece to lead the Nanaimo Buccaneers past the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 12-5 in front of 310 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.