ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Another game, another loss.
The Victoria Cougars dropped their second straight and fourth of their last six following a 3-1 defeat to the last place Saanich Braves on Thursday night.
21 games into the season, Victoria needs to get back to basics and improve on its anemic power play.
The game was scoreless until Joey McGuire put one home at 7:38 of the second period. After Kyle Mace had his scoring attempt stopped by Connor McKillop, the puck ricocheted out to the high slot to McGuire who buried it for his first goal of the season.
Saanich (10-12-0-1) doubled its lead 63 seconds into the third period when Dale McCabe skated into Cougars territory on an odd man rush and sniped a wrist shot over the right shoulder of McKillop.
49 seconds later, Gavin Grewal fired the puck past McKillop from a sharp angle to blow the game wide open. Fans were yelling for a hooking penalty to be called on Hayden Visscher who caused Landon Kitchen to cough up the puck to Grewal.
Victoria finally got on the board at 8:18 off the flukiest goal of the year. From the slot, Darwin Lakoduk wired a wrist shot over the net that bounced off the end glass and off the backside of Riley Mathieson and in.
A late penalty to Saanich gave the Cougars (11-10-0-0) some much needed life but the majority of play was either spent in the neutral zone or in the Victoria end.
On the season, the Cougars have just 15 goals in 120 power play chances – eighth worst in the VIJHL.
McKillop was pulled for an extra attacker with 80 seconds remaining in regulation but the move proved futile.
It was a clean game with only two minor penalties assessed to Victoria and one handed out to the Braves.
Shots on goal favoured Saanich, 26-24.
The Cougars dressed two affiliate players in Bryce Irwin and Tyler Magnusson. Both players ended up being the hardest working and most effective players for head coach Suneil Karod.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL, Jayden Schubert scored twice as the Nanaimo Buccaneers beat the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 5-2 in front of 210 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
Next game for Victoria is Saturday, November 25 versus the Kerry Park Islanders.