ESQUIMALT, B.C. – The Victoria Cougars beat the Westshore Wolves 6-2 on Thursday night to force a seventh game in their opening round playoff series.
Darwin Lakoduk had three assists and Nate Reinhart stopped 32 shots as Victoria lived to see another day.
The odds of winning were not in the Cougars favour after scoring just 11 goals through their first five games.
After getting shut out in Game 5, Victoria built a 5-0 lead before the game reached the 4:36 mark of the second period.
Jordan Spandli, who had been spectacular up until the game tonight, made 29 saves in the loss.
Westshore tried to pull a fast one late in the game by replacing Spandli with emergency backup Sasha Rouselle. After playing 20 seconds, Rouselle, who can only enter the game in the event of an injury, was ordered back to the bench at the next stoppage of play by referee Zach Sletto.
It was a balanced attack with ten different Cougar players hitting the score sheet.
Mateo Albinati opened the scoring with a power play goal at 4:34. In the penalty box at the time of the goal was Calijah Phillip.
21 seconds later, Oliver Hahn fed the puck out front to Matthew Berryman who beat Spandli glove side.
Kyle Wade padded the lead with a quick backhand shot at 9:04.
Then at 16:07, Matthew Sparrow bagged his second goal of the postseason – compliments of a no look pass from Jaden McNulty in the right corner. Carl Ewert made a nice pass up to McNulty to get the play started.
The two teams exchanged a pair of second period goals.
Using Wolves defenseman Trevor Bottomley as a screen, McNulty wired the puck over the right shoulder of Spandli from the inner hash marks of the right faceoff circle. The goal, which was scored at 4:35, came while the two teams were playing four aside.
And with Cole Gardner and Shane Kime still in the penalty box, Keiran Cardinal took advantage of a Victoria turnover eight seconds later.
The Cougars went ahead 6-1 at 9:25 after Kime wired the puck off the far post and in.
Bottomley closed out the scoring for Westshore with 9.5 seconds left in the middle frame.
There was no scoring in the third period; instead there were a lot of penalties.
A total of 90 minutes were handed out in the contest with Wolves Patrick Poets coming away with three minor penalties, a ten-minute misconduct, and a game misconduct.
Victoria did a good job shutting down Cameron Coutre who was left scoreless and frustrated.
After Bottomley was called offside midway through the second period, Coutre slammed his stick along the side boards in frustration and then tried to rip the door off its hinges in the tunnel leading to the dressing room.
Then late in the third period, Coutre was issued a ten-minute misconduct after slamming the penalty box door. Heading to the dressing room, Coutre again slammed his stick on anything getting in his way.
Reinhart, who has been on the bench for most of the series, stopped a third period penalty shot.
The Cougars went 1-for-6 on the power play; meanwhile, Westshore finished 0-for-5.
Kime, a natural defenseman, had success as a forward. Zefin Pighin, a natural forward, was equally as successful as a defenseman.
Game 7 goes Saturday, March 3. Game time at The Q Centre