The Victoria Cougars 2014-25 season came to an abrupt end in Campbell River Friday night as the Campbell River Storm took Game 4 of their Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League Championship Series game 3-2.
The win gave the Storm a 4-0 sweep of their lower Island rivals.
Connor Logan, Gage Colpron, and Michael Olson scored for Campbell River which played before another sellout crowd at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena.
The Storm also received a 23-save performance from Jesse Michel who was making his second straight start in between the pipes.
Victoria made things interesting though.
Trailing 3-0, the Cougars roared back with a pair of third period goals to cut the deficit to one. PJ Heger scored at 5:04 to put Victoria on the board. Then with 35 seconds remaining in regulation, Sam McMullen pulled the Cougars to within striking distance.
It was the first point of the series for McMullen who won the regular season scoring title.
The goal by McMullen set up an electric finish.
With 5.4 seconds remaining in regulation and the faceoff to the right of Michel, McMullen won the draw back to Wade Johnson who was stationed at the left point. Johnson then fed the puck over to a wide open Nathan Looysen who ripped a shot just wide of the net.
Campbell River had opened the scoring off a turnover at 2:31 of the first period. After intercepting a pass, Colin Blake skated up ice leading an odd man rush. Feeding the puck over to Logan, the former Peninsula Panthers forward beat Anthony Ciurro short side for his third goal of the playoffs.
There was no scoring until Colpron made it 2-0 from a sharp angle at 1:11 of the second period. Then at 9:46, Olson walked out in front of the net and put the puck behind Ciurro who finished with 20 saves.
Michel, who was named the game’s first star, denied McMullen on a shorthanded breakaway attempt during the second period and then robbed Lane Van de Wetering off a penalty shot in the third period.
Victoria finished 0-for-2 with the man advantage; meanwhile, the Storm went 0-for-5.
A repeat was just not in the cards for the three-time defending champion Cougars who managed to score only seven goals in the series.
Campbell River’s last VIJHL title was in 2004.
Robert Zadra and Dane Feeney were named playoff M.V.P. for their respective teams.
It was the final junior game for Michael Fretz, Howard Howden, Jake Stolz, Johnson, McMullen, and Zadra.
The Campbell River Storm now move on to the Cyclone Taylor Cup.