ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Liam Tupper made 35 saves and Trevor Bottomley scored twice to help the Westshore Wolves to a 5-2 win over the Victoria Cougars on Sunday afternoon.
Also scoring for Westshore were Keegan Durrance, Keiran Cardinal, and Brandon Tutte.
Victoria missed a chance to close the gap on the Wolves who now lead the South Island Division with 25 points. Although the Cougars sit in sole possession of third place with 18 points, they do have four games in hand on Westshore.
Kyle Wade scored both goals for Victoria who surrendered three goals on eight Wolves power play opportunities.
Victoria dictated the pace in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting Westshore 17-6.
But it would be Bottomley who would open the scoring on the power play at 5:52 of the second period. Walking out of the corner, Bottomley fired a wrist shot over the catching glove of Patrick Ostermann from the inner hash mark of the right faceoff circle.
Left all alone in the slot, Durrance made it 2-0 at 9:21 after taking a cross-ice pass from Blake Breyer and beating Ostermann glove side.
Victoria cut the lead in half on the power play. From the bottom of the left faceoff circle, Wade one-timed the puck past Tupper at the 13 minute mark.
Two minutes after the goal, Dylan Defosse was handed an automatic game misconduct for a match penalty he received for an attempt to injure.
Cardinal, on the power play, restored the Wolves two-goal lead with 36 seconds remaining in the period when he sidestepped an Ostermann poke check and slid the puck past the goal line.
Westshore increased its lead 33 seconds into the third period when a bad bounce off the end boards went past Ostermann and onto the stick of Tutte who had an empty net to shoot at.
The Cougars cut the lead in half again, this time at the 4:11 mark. From the point, Darwin Lakoduk put a shot on goal that was tipped in by Wade.
A late penalty allowed the Wolves another opportunity to pad their lead. Pinching in from the point, Bottomley scored on a one-timer set up by a cross-ice pass by Tutte with 62 seconds remaining in regulation.
Ostermann finished the game with 24 saves.
Victoria went 1-for-7 with the man advantage.
Suneil Karod dressed only 15 skaters. And because of the manpower situation, several players have been forced into double-shifting.
The Cougars have now lost two games in a row.
In Campbell River, Pearce Messer had a goal and two assists to lead the hometown Storm past the Peninsula Panthers 9-2 in front of 862 at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena.