© Copyright – 2016 – Victoria Sports News
The Westshore Wolves came back from a 3-1 deficit to play the role of giant killers as they prevailed over the Victoria Cougars at home Wednesday night 4-3. They won on the strength of their 3-for-6 power-play and excellent goaltending by Jordan Spandli.
The Wolves entered the game with a record of 3-5, while the Cougars came in with a 6-1-0-1 record, which is good for second place in the South Division and third overall, despite having played just eight games.
The Cougars’ Grayden Hohl opened the scoring on the power-play at the 3:24 mark on a goal-mouth scramble. Nick Gomerich earned the only assist on the play.
The two teams exchanged power-plays before the Wolves tied the score at 12:10 on the man-advantage, where Cameron Kinsman skated in and buried the puck low, right side on goaltender Anthony Ciurro. The goal was assisted by Cameron Coutre and Branden Tangney.
The Cougars answered back with a pretty three-way passing play that saw Spandli stranded to the side of the goal. Matthew Rokosh slid the puck into the gaping net. He was fed a flat, tape-to-tape pass from Hohl. The play was started by Nick Gomerich.
“Well I think we handed the Cougars their first two goals,” said Wolves’ Coach Jackson Penny. “On the first goal we threw it right up the middle, on the second, we had a lazy back-check. We can’t make mistakes like that when we are going to play top teams like Victoria.”
With 24 seconds left in the first period, Wolves’ defenceman Stephen Stiliadis showed a little frustration with Hohl around his goaltender and the two engaged in some rough play, taking coincidental roughing penalties.
Shots were 10-8 Wolves after the first period, despite Victoria owning more of the play and going up by the score of 2-1.
The teams emerged from their respective dressing rooms with more energy for the second period.
The Cougars quickly went up by two on a marker by Kenny Britton. The goal was assisted by Jordan Passmore and Gomerich for his third point on the night.
At 11:59 Tangney brought the Wolves within one with a beautiful two-on-one rush, where Brandon Tutte fed a seeing-eye pass through a Cougar defender. Tangney made no mistake with the wrister. The second assist was credited to Joe Gage.
A little emotion entered the game as Cougars’ forward Clark Pickup – brother of Grizzlies’ Cole Pickup – and Owen Dalman threw the mitts at centre ice near the Cougars’ bench. They were both tossed for five minutes at 11:25.
“I felt that our guys never gave up and they played for the full 60 minutes,” added Penny.
The Cougars are looking strong again this season. They were the 2015-2016 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League champs and have gotten up for the big games this year handing the Campbell River Storm one of their only two losses while they have also defeated the Saanich Braves. Both teams lead their respective North and South Divisions.
With 11.4 seconds left in the second period the Wolves tied the game on yet another pretty passing play, finished by Zach Benson. He was fed a slick goal-side pass from Jordan Guiney, who was skating miles on the shift. Tyler Carpendale earned the second assist.
The teams skated to the dressing rooms tied at three while the shot clock read 18-17 for the Cougars.
With the Wolves pressing during the third, they were rewarded with a power-play opportunity, which Carpendale took advantage of by putting the Wolves ahead 4-3 at 10:20. He was set up by Guiney.
The Cougars weren’t giving up easy as they threw 13 shots at Spandli during the final frame, while the Wolves managed just five on the period.
Shots were 31-22 Cougars after three.
While the Wolves went 3/6 on the power-play, their penalty kill went 5/6.
Spandli made three terrific saves while killing a late-game boarding penalty to Coutre including a game-saving glove-hand on a point blank Cougar attempt during the late stages.
Asked about Spandli’s late-game heroics in net, Penny said, “I think it was good for him. He is a young goalie and we have given him the reigns to go out there and do the best that he can and any time that he can keep us in the game by making saves like that it is a bonus.”