COUGARS SHUT OUT GLACIER KINGS IN SEASON OPENER

ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Patrick Ostermann stopped all 28 shots he faced as the Victoria Cougars kicked off the 2018 season in rousing fashion on Thursday with a 5-0 win over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.

It was a good start to the season for Victoria who returns only five players from last year.

“I’m very happy with the work ethic of everyone tonight,” Cougars head coach Suneil Karod said immediately following the game.  “A few guys surprised me with their play but it was overall a team effort.”

After Ostermann was acquired from the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in May, that marked the start of several off-season coups for Victoria.

Jaden McNulty, another off-season acquisition, scored the game’s fifth and final goal with 1:56 remaining in regulation after taking a nifty feed from Carl Ewert and roofing a backhander over Matt Henwood.

Donning new uniforms, the Cougars dominated the final two periods after playing a so-so opening 20 minutes.

“We still have a lot of kinks to work out but it was a good start and a step in the right direction,” Karod said.

Victoria scored twice in the second period and twice more in the third while outshooting the Glacier Kings 35-14 in the process.

Although it was a team effort, the night belonged to Darwin Lakoduk who scored a goal and chipped in with a pair of assists.  The 2000-born forward is a product of the prestigious Northern Alberta Xtreme Hockey Academy and attended the Edmonton Oil Kings rookie camp two years ago.

Nicholas Looysen, the younger brother of Nathan who won the VIJHL scoring title two years ago, opened the scoring at 17:13 of the first period after tipping home a Ewert wrist shot.

Comox Valley outshot the Cougars 14-8 in the period.

Penalties within a 51 second span put Victoria on a two-man power play at the 6:23 mark of the second period.  And with 18 seconds remaining in the initial penalty, Lakoduk fed a tape-to-tape pass to Akila Sato-Gaudreau who lit the lamp from the top of the blue paint.

Then with 32.9 ticks remaining in the period, Lakoduk gave the Cougars a 3-0 lead after wiring the puck past Henwood from 20 feet out.

Keeping the pedal to the metal, Victoria was rewarded at the 16 minute mark of the third period.  Deep in enemy territory, Kyle Wade made a toe-drag around a defender before resulting in a top shelf tally.

Watching from the sin bin was Willie Daigneault who had all but nine seconds remaining in his roughing penatly.

The Cougars finished 2-for-8 with the man advantage and went a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

McNulty put the final nail in the coffin at 18:14.

Just before the McNulty goal, teammate Shane Kime made a great defensive play by swiping the puck off the stick of Matteo Giomo who had a clear path to the net.

Die-hard hockey fans got a firsthand look at Glacier Kings’ wonder kid Cody Shepheard who signed a contract with the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League exactly one week ago.

Selected in the eighth round of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Shepheard did not disappoint.  Although held off the score sheet, the Ice prospect possessed decent speed, good puck control, and a bullet of a shot.

Comox Valley falls to 0-2-0-0 after dropping a 5-0 decision to the explosive Campbell River Storm in the season opener for both teams last Saturday.

Next game for Victoria is Saturday, September 9 versus the Glacier Kings.  Game time at the Comox Valley Sports Centre, located at 3001 Vanier Drive, is 7:30 p.m.

BAYVIEW PLACE STARS OF THE GAME:

1st star, Patrick Ostermann (Saves:  28, Save Percentage:  1.000)

2nd star, Darwin Lakoduk (Goals:  1, Assists:  2)

3rd star, Shane Kime (Goals:  0, Assists:  1)