Grayden Hohl scored twice in the third period to lead the Victoria Cougars to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Westshore Wolves to open the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s South Division semifinal Thursday in Esquimalt.
The underdog Wolves, always in tough at Archie Browning Arena, held the South Division champs to a goal through most of two periods. In the final minute of the second period, however, a point shot by James Scott found its way through a maze of players and past goalie Jordan Spandli for the ultimate winning goal.
Westshore struggled to gain any momentum in the third, with penalties forcing them to play shorthanded for six of the first 12 minutes. Hohl’s first goal came on the power play 12:09 into the period. He added an empty netter in the final minute.
Jordan Spandli gave his team a chance to win, kicking out 43 of the 46 shots he faced overall. He was named second star of the game behind Hohl, who also set up the first two Victoria goals, including Dom Kolbeins’ first-period marker.
Anthony Ciurro made 28 saves in the Cougars’ net.
Game 2 of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Friday night (Feb. 24) at The Q Centre in Colwood at 7 p.m.