ESQUIMALT, B.C. – Medicine Hat Tigers fans should start getting excited about Jalen Price.
Selected in the third round of the 2016 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, the 16-year-old wonder kid scored three goals as the Campbell River Storm extended its unbeaten streak to ten games following a 6-1 win over the Victoria Cougars on Sunday afternoon.
Price continued his torrid pace by recording his 9th, 10th, and 11th goals to give him 23 points in 21 games.
The Cougars, who were outshot 41-16, gave a herculean effort in the final 20 minutes but it was not enough to overcome period deficits of 2-0 and 4-0.
Just eight seconds in, Patrick Ostermann got caught behind his net as the puck took an awkward bounce off a stanchion and ended up on the stick of Price for an easy goal.
Then on the power play and on a delayed penalty, Jonathan Lee finished off a nifty give-and-go with Dylan McCann; this all coming with 47.3 seconds remaining in the period.
Zefan Pighin, who lit the lamp in Friday night’s come-from-behind win over the Saanich Braves, nearly scored again but his second period wrist shot rang off the iron.
At 9:27, Price took a centering pass from Brett Kinley and snapped the puck over the outstretched reach of Ostermann to make it 3-0.
Campbell River padded its lead when Reid Wheeldon was left alone in the slot and beat Ostermann with a wrist shot for his first goal of the season at 13:29.
Carl Ewert came close to breaking up the play but the centering pass from Kinley deflected off the shaft of the Cougars defenseman and out to Wheeldon.
The Cougars managed only three shots on goal that period.
One of those shots came from Foster Martin who was robbed of a goal by Spencer Deakin. Showing why he is the best goaltender in the VIJHL, Deakin made his best save of the season after he slid across the crease to get his right pad on the puck.
Mateo Albinati did a good job by getting the puck through traffic to Martin.
Victoria was finally able to beat Deakin at 9:13 of the third period, thanks to a shorthanded goal from Alexander Benger. From the point, Benger unloaded a slap shot for his seventh goal of the season.
Darren Hards made it 5-1 after his shot from the slot sailed over the right shoulder of Ostermann at 12:22. Then at 17:59, Price completed the hat-trick when his sharp angle shot twinkled the twine.
The Cougars, who dressed only 14 skaters which included Rowan Miller, a callup from the South Island Royals, went 0-for-5 with the man advantage and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.
16-year-old defenseman Cody Savey, a Seattle Thunderbirds prospect, missed his second straight game for the Storm.
Next game for Victoria is Thursday, November 23 versus the Saanich Braves. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
BAYVIEW PLACE STARS OF THE GAME:
1st star, Jalen Price (Goals: 3, Assists: 0)
2nd star, Reid Wheeldon (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
3rd star, Alexander Benger (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)