The Victoria Cougars extended their winning streak to six games following a 6-3 victory over the Peninsula Panthers Sunday afternoon in Vancouver island Junior Hockey league action.
Brett Lervold, named the game’s first star, scored two of his three goals in the first period.
The Cougars (24-3-1-0) showed why they possess the top-ranked penalty kill in the VIJHL. Peninsula had a two-man advantage for one minute and six seconds which carried over from the first period to the second. In addition, the Panthers received a five-minute man advantage early in the third period. They, however, were unable to capitalize on either one of those power plays.
Down 4-0 after 20 minutes, Peninsula rallied with the only two goals of the second period to cut the deficit in half.
Ryan Carson opened the scoring as he took a John Kretzschmar pass and one-timed it past Alex Olson at 6:43.
And with Sean Buchanan in the penalty box for Peninsula, Lervold scored at 11:21 to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead. Assisting on the goal were Ryan Buse and Sam McMullen who extended his point streak to 16 games.
Lervold scored his second of the afternoon when his shot beat Alex Olson over the shoulder at 13:25.
Then at 15:43, Michael Fretz gave Victoria a 4-0 lead after tipping home an Aiden Silzer-Hooker point shot.
Peninsula (7-23-0-1) finally scored its first goal of the game midway through the middle frame as Sean Buchanan head-manned the puck to Nathan Looysen who made a nice deke on Anthony Ciurro before potting his first of two goals on the afternoon.
A kneeing penalty to Hunter Frampton would put Victoria on its fifth power play.
While playing shorthanded, Panthers’ Nathan Looysen received a penalty shot which was stopped by Ciurro. Celebrations were short-lived when the Panthers cut the lead in half on a shorthanded goal from Braeden Pearce at 16:57.
Peninsula got an excellent opportunity to narrow the gap at the 4:20 mark of the third period when Kretzschmar laid out Brett Sjerven behind the Panthers net. As Sjerven lay face down on the ice, Kretzschmar received a five-minute major for checking-to-the-head and a game misconduct.
Sjerven, who was attended to by trainer Josh Armstrong would return but wearing a full face cage.
Peninsula was not able to get many opportunities during the five-minute man advantage. In fact, the Panthers only got one shot on net.
Overall, the Panthers went 1-for-8 with the man advantage.
McMullen and Looysen would exchange goals at 11:36 and 13:17 respectively.
With time running out, Panthers head coach Rob Mortin pulled his goalie with 3:17 left in regulation. And with 6.2 seconds remaining, Lervold would score into an empty net for his first hat-trick since February 5, 2014.
There will be a new face in the Cougars lineup. PJ Heger, who was recently acquired from Oceanside in exchange for cash, will make his debut against his former teammates tomorrow. The eighteen-year-old forward from Traverse City, Michigan was leading the Generals in scoring before the trade to Victoria.
Heger, who collected 13 goals, ten assists, and 26 penalty minutes in 30 games for Oceanside, stands five-foot-ten and weighs in at 185 pounds. He also scored two power play goals and two shorthanded goals.
The Cougars meet the Oceanside Generals tomorrow night, December 11. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre is 7:00 p.m.