The Nanaimo Buccaneers ended the Victoria Cougars’ 23-game winning streak Sunday afternoon.
Trent Bell scored 30 seconds into double overtime to lift Nanaimo to a 1-0 win. In double overtime, Bell cut through the slot and fired a wrist shot past goalie Anthony Ciurro for his team leading 26th goal.
Eighteen seconds earlier, Will Koop looked to have Ciurro beat. That was until the five-foot-ten Peoria, Arizona-native whipped out his glove and stole what would have been the game winner. The Cougars outshot Nanaimo 5-4 in extra time.
After backstopping the Buccaneers to victory in his last start, netminder Alex Orth continued his strong play.
Orth made several crucial saves from start to finish keeping Victoria at bay. The six-foot-four Abbotsford-native stopped 13 shots in the first period, another seven in the second, and 12 more in the third for his second shutout of the season.
Nanaimo improves to 19-17-1-2 and moves five points ahead of the third place Comox Valley Glacier Kings in the North Island Division.
Equally as good, Ciurro made 20 saves.
Four minutes into the middle frame, Koop used a nifty deke but was denied by Ciurro. Back the other way, Nathan Looysen rang the puck off the near post.
In the third period, Looysen had his one-timer from the slot gobbled up by Orth six minutes in.
But it would be the Cougars who would get the better scoring chances. After beating Calverley one-on-one, Vandewetering just missed picking the top corner. Then on an odd man rush, Looysen used Vandewetering as a decoy before snapping the puck off the blocker of Orth.
And with just under four minutes to play in regulation, Looysen had a wide open net to shoot at but the pass from Vandewetering skipped over his stick.
After four-on-four solved nothing, the two teams headed to five minutes of three-on-three.
Thirty seconds in, Dom Kolbeins tried to flip a pass up to Looysen but the puck was intercepted in the neutral zone. With Koop to his left, Bell cut into the middle and buried the puck past Ciurro. After the goal, Bell was mobbed by his teammates.
The Cougars drop to 33-4-1-1 and lost for the first time on home ice this season. Next game for Victoria is Thursday, Jan. 28 against the Peninsula Panthers. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.