SAANICH, B.C. – Akila Sato-Gaudreau scored with 32.4 seconds left in regulation as the Victoria Cougars beat the Saanich Braves 6-5 on Friday night.
Victoria battled back from a pair of two goal deficits for the win.
With the faceoff to the right of Braves goaltender Riley Mathieson, Sato-Gaudreau lassoed the puck out of a scrum and from inside the circle he picked the top corner of the net with a wicked wrist shot.
Also scoring for the Cougars were Darwin Lakoduk (2), Zefan Pighin, Alexander Benger, and Landon Kitchen.
Patrick Ostermann got the start in net but was pulled at the 5:31 mark of the opening period after allowing three goals on six shots. In a bold move by head coach Suneil Karod, Ostermann was put back in between the pipes to begin the second period and went on to stop 21 of 23 shots.
Moments before the Sato-Gaudreau goal, Ostermann flat out robbed Gavin Grewal who was left alone at the top of the crease.
Saanich got its goals from Dale McCabe, Jordan Strandlund, Hayden Visscher, and Grewal (2).
After shutting out the powerhouse Nanaimo Buccaneers in his last game, Mathieson turned in a 33 save performance.
Victoria went 0-for-6 with the man advantage. The Braves finished 2-for-4.
Nate Reinhart stopped all five shots in relief.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL: Peninsula Panthers 5, Kerry Park Islanders 4 (OT). Campbell River Storm 6, Comox Valley Glacier Kings 3.
Next game for the Cougars is Sunday, November 19 versus the Campbell River Storm.