ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Mateo Albinati scored 2:38 into double overtime to lead the Victoria Cougars past the Saanich Braves 4-3 in one of two VIJHL games played on Thursday night.
With the teams playing three-on-three, Albinati took a stretch pass from Kyle Wade and scored on a breakaway.
Wade finished the game with three assists.
The win moves Victoria (15-11-0-1) to within three points of the South Island Division leading Westshore Wolves who were idle tonight.
James Vince of the Braves forced overtime late in the third period when he made no mistake banging home a Jordan Strandlund centering pass.
From the first minute of the game it looked like the matchup between the Cougars and Saanich would be a high-scoring affair.
After all, five goals were scored in the first period alone.
Rowan Miller opened the scoring at 1:21. Just over a minute into the power play, Matthew Sparrow fed the puck out front to Miller who one-timed it past Riley Mathieson.
A call up from the South Island Royals of the BC Major Midget League, Miller gave Cougar fans a glimpse of the future after scoring his first junior goal.
Trevor Owens tied the game on the power play at 11:10 when his shot from the side of the net eluded Patrick Ostermann.
Victoria went ahead by two on a pair of goals from Darwin Lakoduk.
At 15:54, Lakoduk banged home an Alexander Benger rebound.
Lakoduk notched his league-leading 17th goal when his wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle caught Mathieson flatfooted. Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Jarrod Lucoe who had 47 seconds left in his cross-checking penalty.
The Cougars were 2-for-2 with the man advantage and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Exactly one minute later, Elliott MacIsaac beat Ostermann with a terrific forehand to backhand deke.
There would be no scoring until the 16:36 mark of the third period when Vince tied the game.
Despite outshooting the Braves 4-2 in extra time, Victoria was outshot 36-32 overall.
Both Benger and Strandlund chipped in with two assists for their respective teams.
Saanich (12-13-0-2) had its two-game winning streak snapped.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL, Derek Krall stopped 38 shots as the Nanaimo Buccaneers eked out a 3-2 win over the Campbell River Storm in front of 280 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
Next game for Victoria is Sunday, December 10 versus the Kerry Park Islanders. Game time at Kerry Park Recreation Centre, located at 1035 Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Road, is 3:00 p.m.
BAYVIEW PLACE STARS OF THE GAME:
1st star, Darwin Lakoduk (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)
2nd star, Elliott MacIsaac (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)
3rd star, Patrick Ostermann (Saves: 33, Save Percentage: .917)