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It all came down to the third period at Esquimalt’s Archie Browning Arena on Thursday between the Victoria Cougars and Saanich Braves, where the Cougars scored four unanswered goals to pull off a 4-1 win over the Braves.

The South Division-leading Cougars fired 43 shots at goaltender Anderson Violetta, while the Braves managed just 25 on Owen Sikkes. Sikkes’ only blemish on the game was an unassisted second-period marker by Zach Guerra at 12:19. There was no scoring during the first period.

At 5:04 of the third Mateo Albinati scored the first of the four straight goals, followed by Ryan Okino at 11:38, Cameron LeSergent at 18:38 and Carl Ewart with an unassisted empty-netter at 19:37.

Violetta was pulled in favour of the extra attacker with 1:15 remaining in the game.

Ewart led the way for the Cougars on offence with two points. The 20-year-old Prince George native added an assist to his third-period goal.

With the win, the Cougars now lead the South Division by 16 points, ahead of the second-place Kerry Park Islanders and are just one point behind the Campbell River Storm who lead the North Division and the league, however, the Storm have one game in hand (35 – 36).

The Cougars powerplay went 0/3 and they blanked the Braves on their nine opportunities.

The Cougars next play the Peninsula Panthers in Sidney at Panorama Recreation Centre Friday night, while the Braves host the Westshore Wolves at Pearkes Arena.

Elsewhere in the VIJHL, the Nanaimo Buccaneers loaded up on the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 9-1 on Thursday night, outshooting them by a 45-12 margin, Nanaimo took 18 shots during the first period alone.

Dawson Heathcote opened the scoring at 1:49 of the first period. Trey Watson and Jacob Gosling added goals at 2:02 and 15:31. Gosling’s was a short-handed marker. Nathan Hauser was serving two minutes for cross-checking.

Nanaimo scored four during the second period and added two more during the third. Eight different Buccaneers scored. Trey Watson led the way with four points, while Bill Walters picked up three.

Watson is a 19-year-old Duncan native in his fourth season with the Buccaneers. He now has 28 points in 28 games with 14 goals and 14 assists. He scored just seven and nine points in the last two years, respectively.

The lone Glacier Kings goal was scored by Brendan Almer at 6:34 of the second period.

Nanaimo’s powerplay went 1/3, while the Glacier Kings were blanked on their five opportunities.

Jacob Douce took the loss in net for the Glacier Kings stopping 29 of 38 shots. He was relieved by Matthias Smith half-way through the third period. Smith closed the door the rest of the way, stopping all seven shots that he faced.

Spencer Deakin stopped 11 of 12 Comox Valley shots that were fired his way.

NORTH DIVISION
TEAM GP W L T TP
Storm 35 24 8 0 77
Buccaneers 31 19 10 0 60
Generals 37 12 21 0 43
Glacier Kings 36 4 30 0 15
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SOUTH DIVISION
TEAM GP W L T TP
Cougars 36 23 9 0 76
Islanders 35 18 12 0 60
Braves 36 16 13 0 59
Panthers 36 10 17 0 43
Wolves 34 11 17 0 41
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SCORING LEADERS
PLAYER GP G A PTS
E. Easton (KPI) 34 20 25 45
B. Chacalias (VIC) 32 21 23 44
J. Lingard (PEN) 35 21 18 39
I. Leik (KPI) 34 18 21 39
J. Zary (NAN) 27 21 17 38
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GOALIE LEADERS
GOALIE GP W GAA SV%
B Wood (INACT) 6 5 1.34 .938
O Sikkes (VIC) 13 9 1.78 .943
E Samyn (CRS) 5 2 1.82 .909
J Little (CRS) 11 7 1.99 .915
A de Kok (CRS) 22 16 2.11 .929
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