Special Teams for the Cougars has always been a point of pride for the Cougars. And usually a point of fear for their opponents. The Cougars had the top PP in the South coming into the third contest of the season against Saanich. In the prior two games where the Cougars won both 8-0, the Cougars went 4/13 or just shy of 31%. That is a decent number. But last night the Cougars bumped that number up. Going 5/8 or 62.5%. Victoria had their way with the Predators penalty kill.
While the final score was another beating, the game didn’t play that way for a good portion of the 60 minutes. Once again Andrew Palm was the best player for the Predators and he was pulled for the 3rd straight game against the Cougars. I honestly see him getting pulled as a mercy and not indicative of his play. He was left hanging on several occasions in each game. In this contest he made a dozen highlight reel saves in the opening frame alone. The Cougars did manage the lone goal in the period but they peppered the Preds net for most of it.
Coming into this game the Preds had not scored a single goal against the Cougars, and Fraser Wyatt collected both Shutouts. That ended in the 2nd period on Friday night. 142 minutes and 14 seconds into his shutout streak against Saanich Wyatt was finally beaten. Kieran Smith started a burst of goals for Saanich. Kyle Brown and Avery Hargitt potted their own goals to get the Predators up 3-1 on the back of 3 goals in 2 minutes and 9 seconds. The fastest 3 goals the Cougars have allowed this year. Two of those goals were on the power-play for Saanich. Saanich scored twice as many PP goals in just over 2 minutes than the Cougars have allowed all year thus far.
Unfortunately, that is where the wheels came off the wagon for Saanich. Jackson Estey scored back to back goals, Jon Esposito, and Jacob Pang all scored in the span of 10 minutes to give the Cougars a solid lead. Aidan Fraser did get one back for the Predators. Jackson Estey would get his fourth of the night to round out the middle frame. The Cougars would then get three more in the third to have another run-away clubbing of the Predators.
Saanich found a hole in the Cougars armour. Brody Coulter and his troops now have more to look at and learn from. Coach Coulter has said on multiple occasions its hard to teach when you are winning. While they didn’t lose this game, there was definitely holes in the play that need work.
The Cougars now have almost a week off before heading north to take on Nanaimo on the road next Thursday.
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