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The difference may have been the powerplay as the second-place Saanich Braves defeated the visiting first-place Victoria Cougars by the score of 3-2 at Pearkes Arena on Friday night.
During the first period, the Cougars out-shot the Braves 10-5, but neither team managed to score.
At the 19-second mark of the second period Jordan Passmore opened the scoring on a goal that was assisted by Shane Kime and Kenny Britton. Passmore, a Kamloops native, had earned two assists Thursday during the Cougars 5-0 defeat of the visiting Peninsula Panthers at Archie Browning Arena.
The second period shots were a reverse of the first period’s with the Braves getting 15 to the Cougars’ nine. Shots after two were 19-20 for the Braves.
The teams exchanged goals during the third period with Akila Sato-Gaudreau scoring at 12:52 from 20-year-old Brantford native Britton for his second point on the night.
Braves’ Ted Brennan tied the score up at 18:56 on a goal that was assisted by Dale McCabe and Michael Sproule.
McCabe would move within one point of being the second highest point getter in the league behind teammate Nick Guerra when the pair combined on the game winning goal that came at 4:09 of the first overtime period on the powerplay. Passmore was in the sin bin for two minutes for slashing. Colin Blake of the Campbell River Storm is currently in second in league points, he would also play tonight.
The Cougars ended up out-shooting the Braves 32-29, while the Braves went 1/3 on the powerplay, and they kept the Cougars off the scoresheet with their three man advantages.
Guerra’s assist gives him 60 points so far this season in 32 games played.
With the overtime win, the Braves move to within three points of the Cougars and have one game in-hand. Currently the two teams are 1-2 in the regular season overall for the VIJHL, however, the Campbell River Storm have three and four games in-hand on the Braves and Cougars, respectively.
The Storm hosted the Oceanside Generals and threw a blizzard of shots (46) at Wesley Jon Ellingsen and Tanner Douglas who split duties in goal. Douglas was pulled at 1:10 of the second period after letting in four goals, two during that 1:10 span of the second. Ellingson played for 38-minutes and 50 seconds.
Five different Storm players scored, while Josh Harvey had three points and Mitchell Williams had two points.
The Storm went 2/3 on the powerplay. Chris Smith earned the 17-save shutout and first star honours for his efforts in the Storm goal.
Also in the VIJHL on Friday night the Kerry Park Islanders defeated the Peninsula Panthers at Panorama Arena, by the score of 4-2. For different Islanders scored, while Jacob Malloch earned two points on the night.
There will be three Saturday night games in the VIJHL with the Storm playing again, this time against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings, who have slipped as of late and need to find ways to win.
Meanwhile the high flying Nanaimo Buccaneers visit the Oceanside Generals and the hot and cold Westshore Wolves take a short trip over the Malahat to play the Kerry Park Islanders.