ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Oliver Hahn registered one goal and one assist but it wasn’t enough as the Victoria Cougars dropped a 4-2 decision to the Peninsula Panthers on Thursday night.
The loss, coupled with the Saanich Braves win over the Nanaimo Buccaneers, drops Victoria into second place in the South Island Division.
Saanich has one game in hand, however.
It was an uninspiring effort by the Cougars who were coming off an emotional 3-3 tie against the high powered Campbell River Storm in their last game.
Thursday’s game was tied 1-1 after one period before the Panthers took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
Victoria, which outshot Peninsula 38-30 overall, settled for too many shots from the outside. Despite dominating the second period, the Cougars simply did not make life difficult for Bryce Schiebel.
Instead, the Panthers used their legs to make life difficult for Victoria.
Getting off to a not-so-auspicious start, Peninsula began the game with a warmup violation penalty. The Cougars were unable to score and ultimately finished 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Jaden McNulty opened the scoring at 4:37 when he banged the puck home for his sixth goal of the season. From the slot, Hahn wired a shot from the slot that went off the catching glove of Schiebel and high in the air before McNulty knocked it in.
Riley Braun tied the game when his one-timer from Nolan Lee beat Nate Reinhart between the wickets at 11:41. The goal from Braun came off a Matthew Sparrow turnover.
The Panthers went ahead 2-1 at 16:08 of the second period when Braun fed Shota Yamamoto with a perfect backdoor feed.
Shots on goal in the period favored Victoria, 17-5.
Hahn picked up his second point of the night at the 29 second mark of the third period when he tipped a point shot by Shane Kime and in.
A tripping penalty to Kyle Wade put Peninsula on the power play at 9:28. Ten seconds later, Carson Cox tied the game when his shot from the right faceoff dot beat Reinhart short side.
The Panthers finished 1-for-5 on the power play.
With time winding down, Reinhart was pulled for an extra attacker with just under a minute to play.
Wade came close to tying the game when he was set up by Alexander Benger only to have Schiebel slide across his crease to keep the puck out.
And then with 15.4 seconds remaining, Cox scored into an empty net.
On Thursday, we saw a Cougars team that was unprepared, lacked effort, and hung Reinhart out to dry with poor defensive coverage.
In Nanaimo, Trevor Owens scored at 2:25 of double overtime to lead the Saanich Braves past the North Island Division leading Nanaimo Buccaneers 5-4 in front of 250 fans at Nanaimo Ice Centre.
Next game for Victoria is Wednesday, January 31 versus the Westshore Wolves. Game time at The Q Centre, located at 1767 Island Highway, is 7:30 p.m.
BAYVIEW PLACE STARS OF THE GAME:
Peninsula: Riley Braun (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
Victoria: Oliver Hahn (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)