© Copyright – 2019 – Victoria Sports News

The Saanich Braves came back hard on the first-place Victoria Cougars and nearly took the win Thursday, after digging a 3-0 hole for themselves during the first period.

At Archie Browning Arena in Esquimalt, the Cougars got first period goals by Spencer Golden, Booker Chacalias and Tyler Vanuden at 2:17, 4:23 and 16:43, respectively, to take a 3-0 lead into the second period.

There was just one goal scored during the middle frame, at 2:25, James Vince buried the puck on goaltender Owen Sikkes.

The game looked all but over at 6:44 when Bryce Irwin scored to maintain the Cougars’ three-goal lead, but the Braves got three consecutive goals, one from Brendan McTavish and two from Ryan Strange at 10:50 and 12:42, Zach Guerra earned assists on both Strange goals.

To overtime, the teams would go, where the Cougars prevailed at 48-seconds of play when Mateo Albinati scored from Kevan McBean.

The Braves powerplay went 0/4, while the Cougars did not score on their one opportunity.

Connor Cheyne made 16 saves on 18 shots before being replaced by Anderson Violetta who stopped 12 of 13, for the loss.

Sikkes earned the 24-save win for the Cougars.

The Braves have to enter the eye of the Storm Friday as they pay a visit to Campbell River. It will be their only back-to-back games this season against the division leaders.

Elsewhere in the VIJHL, the Nanaimo Buccaneers shutout the visiting Peninsula Panthers 4-0 in Nanaimo.

The Wolves pay a visit to the Panthers at Panorama Recreation Centre and the Buccaneers ride the bus up to Courtenay to play the Comox Valley Glacier Kings, puck drop is at 7:30 pm, for both teams.

NORTH DIVISION
TEAM GP W L T TP
Storm 39 27 9 0 86
Buccaneers 36 22 12 0 69
Generals 40 14 22 0 49
Glacier Kings 38 4 32 0 15
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SOUTH DIVISION
TEAM GP W L T TP
Cougars 40 24 10 0 83
Braves 40 17 14 0 64
Islanders 40 19 15 0 64
Wolves 39 14 18 0 52
Panthers 40 11 20 0 46
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SCORING LEADERS
PLAYER GP G A PTS
B. Chacalias (VIC) 36 24 27 51
E. Easton (KPI) 39 21 30 51
B. Walters (NAN) 36 15 31 46
B. McClintick (KPI) 35 9 35 44
M. Albinati (VIC) 30 22 21 43
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GOALIE LEADERS
GOALIE GP W GAA SV%
B Wood (NAN) 10 8 1.56 .936
E Samyn (CRS) 5 2 1.82 .909
A de Kok (CRS) 25 19 1.97 .932
J Little (CRS) 12 7 1.99 .912
O Sikkes (VIC) 16 12 2.08 .935
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