The Cougars and the Bucs had forays into each other’s zones early. Carl Ewert put the Cougars on the board 1-0 at 4:56 of the first. Booker Chacalias tried a wrap around which slid right out to the blue line and the Cougars captain poked the puck past Dylan Devers and swung past him and fired a shot high glove side that eluded Nanaimo starter Blake Wood. Also assisting on the play was Grady Birk. The teams exchanged chances until late in the period when the Cougars had some penalty troubles, giving up 2 power plays. It was the Cougars however who scored shorthanded at 18:56. Birk brought the puck into the Bucs zone and fed a pass to Ewert who tried a deke on Wood. The net minder stopped Ewert but the rebound came out to the slot and Tyler Vanuden sped in and deposited the puck in the back of the net. Just after their PP expired it was Seamus O’Toole who took a hard slap shot that worked it’s way through the pads of Cougars goalie Owen Sikkes. Billy Walters assisted on the goal.
The second was all Cougars as they just seemed to get more and more confident. They skated hard and created lots of chances. At 1:19 of the second Tyler Vanuden scored his second goal of the game finishing off a great passing series. Bryce Irwin fed Kevan McBean who made a perfect back pass to Vanuden who unleashed a wicked slap shot. At 7:19 Irwin teamed up with Vanuden and Ewert to give the Cougars a 4-1 lead on a nice wrap around. The Bucs took 5 penalties in the period showing their frustration and the Cougars took advantage. At 8:38 on the PP Vanuden completed the hat trick when he converted a Booker Chacalias pass from the corner. It was a near impossible angle and he somehow squeezed the puck between Wood’s pads and the post. Second assist went to Cameron LeSergent. At the 13:00 mark and again on the PP Matt Clark scored from McBean and Irwin. The Bucs did manage to put some pucks on net but Sikkes was equal to the task. The Cougars held a 6-1 lead at the end of the 2nd.
To start the third both teams switched goalies. Nanaimo putting in Austin Dendl and the Cougars putting Cam Stevenson between the pipes. In the third the teams settled down a little with one Cougar penalty and 2 to the Bucs. The Cougars continued to go to the net and got goals from Foster Martin with assists to Jaden McNulty and Clark at 15:41. Then late in the period at 19:35 on the PP it was the other Martin, Josh who would find the back of the net from AP Nathan Goliath and Dylan Jessa.
Players of the game were Billy Walters for the Bucs and Tyler Vanuden for the Cougars
The teams head up to the Pirate Ship in Nanaimo for game 6 tonight. Puck drop is 7:30pm. If there is a game 7 it will be at the Arch on Sunday at 3:30pmFollow the Cougars on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram.