ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The first round playoff series between the Victoria Cougars and Westshore Wolves has come down to a best-of-3.
Westshore knotted the series at two games apiece on Sunday afternoon following its 5-2 win at Archie Browning Sports Centre.
Fresh off his one-game suspension he received back in Game 1, Cameron Coutre returned with a vengeance. The VIJHL leading scorer during the regular season chipped in with two assists and had multiple scoring chances.
It was a rough and tumble affair with both teams receiving nine power play opportunities and each converting twice.
Not a lot went right for the Cougars who trailed 3-0 after one period and 3-1 after two. And when Victoria seemed to get on a roll, penalties would kill any momentum.
Brandon Tutte opened the scoring at 4:50. At the blue line, Tomba Huddlestan zipped a pass to Tutte who beat Patrick Ostermann five-hole from the side of the net.
In the penalty box at the time of the goal was Carl Ewert.
Trevor Bottomley made it 2-0 at 10:45 after Jaden McNulty drew a boarding call for his hit on Coutre 84 seconds earlier.
Immediately following the goal, Nate Reinhart replaced Ostermann who allowed two goals on ten shots.
Keiran Cardinal padded the lead with his first goal of the postseason after tipping home a Huddlestan point shot at 17:40.
There would be no scoring until the 15:08 mark of the second period.
With Cole Gardner and Huddlestan each receiving penalties 36 seconds apart, Victoria went on a two-man advantage.
Mateo Albinati got the Cougars on the board by converting a cross-ice feed from Darwin Lakoduk.
Victoria battled back to within a goal at 3:52 of the third period.
From behind the net, Albinati found Lakoduk for a one-timer that beat Jordan Spandli.
Watching the proceedings from the sin bin was Cardinal who had 76 seconds left in his goaltender interference penalty.
The momentum was soon drained when Matthew Berryman took a checking-from-behind penalty a minute later.
Two seconds after the penalty expired, Lukas Yesaki restored the Wolves two goal lead at 6:58.
Calijah Phillip iced the cake with an empty net goal with 29.3 seconds remaining in regulation.
Westshore outshot the Cougars 42-22.
Game 5 goes Wednesday, February 28. Game time at The Q Centre.