ESQUIMALT, BC – In one of the most highly anticipated games of the season; Brody Coulter outshined Ty Jones.
Coulter scored three times, including picking up an assist on the game winner at 6:26 of the second period, as the Victoria Cougars drubbed the visiting Saanich Braves 7-1 in a battle of the top two Junior B teams in British Columbia.
The No. 1 ranked Cougars improved to 31-1-0-1 on the season while Saanich dropped to 22-5-0-2.
Both teams entered Thursday night’s contest minus some key players.
The Braves were without Tom Dakers, Jordan Groenheyde, Josh Gray, Max Mois, Nolan Kinney, Justin Polischuk, and Shawn McBride.
Meanwhile, Victoria did not have Rhys Williams, Garrett Brandsma, Mark Walton, Brandon Egli, or Jamie Severs in its lineup.
The Cougars earned their ninth win in a row and now breaks for the Christmas holiday which this year will last 13 days.
Kevin Massy of Saanich opened the scoring for the only goal of the first period. From the top of the right faceoff circle, Massy wired a shot through a screen which found the top corner of the net.
The Braves did everything right in that period which included outshooting Victoria 7-5 as well as successfully killing off three penalties.
However, all that came to an abrupt end as the Cougars would go on to score five times in the second period followed with two more in the final frame.
Coulter, who extended his point streak to 30 games, threaded the puck through Tanner McGaw from his off wing at 4:03 to tie the game at 1-1.
Saanich found itself two men down after Garett Kemmler and Liam Sproule took penalties 42 seconds apart.
Leading the rush, Coulter centered the puck to Wade Johnson who had his shot stopped by McGaw. The puck squirted out to Ben Kinshella who waited patiently for McGaw to commit before sending it underneath the crossbar at 6:26 for his eighth power play goal of the season.
Dane Feeney then scored unassisted at 7:44 to give Victoria a 3-1 lead. But the goal came with fireworks.
After referee Jordy Davis pointed towards the net to signal a goal, Jones disagreed with the call and then threw McGaw’s water bottle at him. The league’s third leading scorer was escorted to the penalty box where he received ten-minute misconduct.
Jones, who has 59 points on the season, was then issued a game misconduct after he kept mouthing off at Davis. As Jones left the ice, he threw his stick like a spear down the tunnel leading to the Saanich dressing room.
Coulter made it a three goal game at 11:09 after being sent in all alone by affiliate player Jordan Law. And then with 59.6 seconds remaining in the period, David Marshall beat McGaw top shelf on a shorthanded breakaway.
The Braves made a goalie change to start the third period as Jason Stewart saw his first action of the season in relief of McGaw who allowed five goals on 21 shots.
Coulter completed the hat trick at 4:50 after gobbling up a loose puck. Law, who scored his second goal in as many games, rounded out the scoring at 5:25.
After a lackluster opening 20 minutes, the Cougars outshot Saanich 16-3 in the second period and 15-4 in the third for a game total of 36-14.
Evan Roch picked up the win in net for Victoria.
The Cougars went 1-for-7 on the power play while going a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
In Nanaimo, Beau Blanaru and Garrett Dunlop recorded three points apiece as the North Island Division leading Buccaneers beat the Campbell River Storm 5-4.
Next game for Victoria is not until January 3 when they play host to the Westshore Wolves. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
1st star, Brody Coulter (Goals: 3, Assists: 1)
2nd star, Ben Kinshella (Goals: 1, Assists: 2)
3rd star, Jake Stolz (Goals: 0, Assists: 0)