John Kretzschmar scored three times and Grant Payne stopped 17 shots as the Victoria Cougars thumped the visiting Kerry Park Islanders 8-2 Thursday night at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.
It was a good bounce-back win for Victoria who had its nine-game win streak snapped by the Westshore Wolves last night.
Michael Fretz continued his assault on VIJHL goaltenders by scoring twice and setting up five others. The winger from Snohomish, Washington now has 27 goals and 27 assists; good for 54 points and third place in league scoring.
Also lighting the lamp for the Cougars were Howard Howden, Robert Zadra, and Ryan Carson.
Victoria (28-4-1-0) wasted little time in setting the tone for the game. At the midway point of the first period, the Cougars were already up 4-0.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to Braedan Cross before the opening puck drop put the Cougars on an early power play. Howden opened the scoring at the 29 second mark after he redirected a Wade Johnson feed past Leighton Williams.
Kretzschmar would double the lead at 6:26 before scoring again at 8:05 to give Victoria a 3-0 lead. Fretz would add to the lead after he beat Williams with a low hard shot at 9:10.
After having its four-game win streak halted by the Saanich Braves last night, Kerry Park (13-17-1-3) got on the board at 1:02 of the second period when Zack Smith netted his team leading 21st goal of the season.
The Cougars needed just 33 seconds to respond. Kretzschmar recorded the hat trick with a shot that was labelled for the top corner.
Williams, who allowed five goals on 21 shots, was pulled in favour of Ty Rennie.
It did not matter as to who was in net for the Islanders. All Zadra did was make the score 6-1 at 17:59.
There was no scoring until the 3:50 mark of the third period when Kyle Green had his shot deflect off a Victoria defenseman and in.
Fretz gave the Cougars a 7-2 lead at 10:14 before Carson rounded out the scoring with 1:14 left to play in regulation. Thrown in the fire, Rennie made 19 saves in relief.
Victoria went 1-for-3 with the man advantage while the Islanders went 0-for-2.
Ravaged by illnesses and injuries, the Cougars were without the services of Anthony Ciurro, PJ Heger, Liam Kinshella, Sam McMullen, and Marino Somerville. Goaltender Zack Kerr and forward James Scott were called up to ease some of the pain.