The Cougars played at home last night for the first time on a Friday night and hung on to beat the Kerry Park Islanders 4-3.
Booker Chacalias was a welcome addition after missing 3 games with an injury. Booker ended up with a goal and 2 assists and was the Cougars player of the game.
The game start was not on the script that the Cougars Coaching staff would have written. Right off the opening faceoff the Islanders took the puck into the Cougars zone and Isaak Leik deposited the puck behind Cougars starter Cam Stevenson unassisted at 16 seconds. Both teams traded chances and neither looked particularly in sync during the rest of the first period. Shots ended 13-11 in favour of the Islanders.
The second period belonged to the Cougars who scored 3 goals and outshot the visitors 14-6. Chacalias scored at 6:34 in the PP with assists to Tyler Vanuden (his first of what will be many since returning Thursday) and Kevan McBean. League leader Matteo Albinati gave the Cougars the lead at 15:14 on a beautiful tic tac toe passing play from Vanuden and Chacalias. Then at 19:39 Jaden McNulty added to the lead firing the puck past Islanders goalie Charles-Oliver LePage from Matthew Berryman and Cole Ford.
The third saw the Cougars open a 3 goal lead at 7:20 when Marshall Brown who now sits at the #2 spot in league scoring twinkled the twine on a goal from Jack Hanrahan and Chacalias.
The Cougars looked to be skating to an easy victory but somebody forgot to tell the Islander that. At 10:18 Evan Easton took a hard wrister from the left faceoff circle to beat Stevenson and bring the Islanders to within 2. Assists were to Tanner Tiel and Brandon McClintick. Then just 50 seconds later it was Cole Amado sliding the puck under Stevenson from Jakob Calnan and Logan Furkalo. The Islanders continued to press for the equalizer including pulling LePage for the final 41 seconds but the Cougars hung on for the win. Shots in the third were 12-8 Cougars.
Both teams had breakaways in the game but were denied by superb goaltending at both ends.
Stars of the game were Charles-Oliver Lepage for the Islanders and Booker Chacalias for the Cougars.
In other games last night both Westshore and Peninsula helped out the Cougars by defeating clubs that are ahead of them in the standings.
At Pearkes arena in Saanich the visiting Wolves defeated the Saanich Braves 7-4 and out at the Panarama Leisure Centre the Peninsula Panthers defeated the visiting Campbell River Storm 3-1. There is definitely parity in the league this year. You have to put in a solid effort against all teams. Great to see.
Tonight the Cougars have their annual Pub Night Fundraiser at 7PM in the Curling Lounge at the Archie Browning Arena. Lots of great Silent Auction items in time for some early Xmas shopping.
Next home game is Sunday at 3:30 at the Arch vs the Oceanside Generals. See you there!
– Tom Arlidge –