Michael Olson scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:01 left in the third period as the Campbell River Storm beat the Victoria Cougars 2-1 in Game 3 of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey league Championship Series on Thursday night.
Skating through the neutral zone with the puck, Ryan Buse had his pass intercepted by Dane Feeney. The five-foot-seven dynamo fed a pass to Gage Colpron who then finished off a pretty three-way passing play by getting the puck to Olson heading towards the net.
Olson put a deke on Anthony Ciurro before sliding a backhander home for only his second goal of the playoffs.
The loss moves the Victoria squad to 3-0 and facing elimination.
Victoria had a glorious chance to tie the game up late in the third period when Colpron was called for delay of game with exactly two minutes remaining. With Ciurro on the bench for an extra attacker, the Cougars pulled out all the stops but could not get the puck past Jesse Michel.
Gavin Rauser came up with a huge shot block in the final minute of play.
There was some controversy at the conclusion of the game as to whether a Storm player covered the puck with his hand in the crease. But after a lengthy discussion, referees Jeff Eden and Zach Sletto ruled the game over.
After the ruling, Michel began jumping up and down in jubilation as he was mobbed by his teammates.
The Cougars would have received a penalty shot had the ruling gone their way. Instead, Victoria now faces the daunting task of winning four straight games.
Game 4 goes Friday in Campbell River.
Tyler Welsh opened the scoring at 18:09 of the first period after he took a pass from Connor Logan and backhanded the puck past Ciurro.
The score remained that way until 5:16 mark of the third period when a slap shot by Wade Johnson from 20 feet out sailed over the catching glove of Michel. Assisting on the goal was Nathan Looysen who was quarterbacking the power play.
Feeney had just over a minute remaining in his delay of game penalty.
That goal, coupled with Robert Zadra’s thunderous hit on Welsh, seemed to give Victoria some life.
After being ridden out along the boards, Welsh had to be attended to by athletic therapist Jami Harris. The Whistler, B.C. native was helped off the ice by Harris and Trevor Bottomley. Welsh did not return.
Shots on goal favoured the Storm, 28-24.
Failing to score on a two-man advantage for one minute and 57-seconds, the Cougars finished 1-for-5 on the power play. Meanwhile, Campbell River was 0-for-2.
Sam McMullen was held off the score sheet for the third game in a row.
Not in the lineup for the Storm were Reece Costain (suspension), Will McNamara (undisclosed injury), and Zach Sanderson (undisclosed injury).