The Cougars travelled over the Malahat on Saturday to take on the Kerry Park Islanders. It was the Nick Collins Memorial Game. Nick was a 15 year old hockey player from the area who was killed tragically in an accident in 2007.
The Islanders came out playing with purpose and struck first at 5:05 when Dawson Elzinga picked up the puck during a scramble in front of the Cougars net and beat starting goalie Brett Anderson. That goal was unassisted. About 30 seconds earlier Anderson made a great save off Parker Bergstrom who let one go from the high slot. The teams pressured at both ends and at 11:13 Bergstrom fed Cory Mater in front who redirected the puck past Anderson for a 2-0 KPI lead. The second assist went to Matthew Baird. Then 23 seconds later it was Alex Villa on what looked like a routine shot that beat Anderson. The net minder was visibly upset and at this point was replaced by Noah Chambers in net. The only assist on Villa’s goal was to Mater. The Cougars then started pressing and ended up drawing a couple of penalties which generated some chances but nobody was able to beat the Islanders starter Nick Haisell. Shots on goal in the first were 15-9 in favour of the Cougars but the Islanders held a 3-0 lead.
The Second period was an exciting affair with lots of chances but was dominated by Haisell and Chambers in their respective nets. There were 2 power plays per team with the Islanders having an extended 5 on 3 for 1:32 but no pucks found the back of the net. The period finished with shots 16-10 in favour of the Cougars. 31-19 after 40 minutes.
In the third the Cougars threw all they had at Nick Haisell but he seemed to have some extra help in this game. Perhaps from Nick the goalie as Nick Collins was called. The only goal to beat him came off the stick of Evan Easton at 6:58 from Bryce Irwin and AP Evan Crawford. Late in the game with Chambers on the bench Parker Bergstrom found the back of the net from Arsh Dhillon and the Islanders won 4-1.
The players of the game were Easton for the Cougars and Haisell for the Islanders.
Following the game there was a ceremony where Collins’ Jersey was lowered at centre ice to the two goalies Haisell and Chambers. They then skated it around the rink and then presented it to Nick Collins’ parents at the penalty box. During the game the Islanders banged the glass where Nicks dad was standing after every goal they scored. An emotional end to a great game by the Islanders. A fitting win.
The Cougars will next play on Thursday at 7 at the Arch when the Nanaimo Buccaneers come to town.Follow the Cougars on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram.