VIJHL Championship Finals – Game 2 – March 28
Victoria 5 Campbell River 2
Generally speaking, when one speaks of a bounce back game one is suggesting that a team wasn’t playing well in the first game. That wouldn’t be the case for the Victoria Cougars as they responded to a 4-0 loss with a 5-2 victory in Game 2 of the VIJHL Championship Finals.
As much as the puck wouldn’t bounce for them in the opener, it certainly was on Thursday night at the Arch.
Effort is not at issue as the two top VIJHL teams meet in the Finals. This has already been a well-played series that many feel could go to seven games.
Jaden McNulty led the way with 3 goals. He was joined on the scoresheet by Mateo Albinati and Tyler Vanuden. Vanuden’s goal featured a great individual effort as the 20 year old stole the puck just inside the Campbell River line, walked in and fired a backhander over Aaron de Kok.
The turning point in Game 2 came at the end of first period with Victoria down 1-0 on a Mike Dyck goal. With virtually no time on the clock, McNulty directed a soft fluttering shot through a maze of players that de Kok never saw. Up until that point, it was the Storm with the edge in play.
In the second, the Cougars took over the play picking up two goals.
With the score 4-1 in the third, Darren Hards scored a beauty, dancing in at the blue line, pulling the lone Cougar skater out of position and using him as a screen.
The fifth Cougar goal was an empty-netter.
Owen Sikkes (33 saves on 34 shots) was stellar between the pipes as was de Kok (28 saves on 32 shots) at the other end.
The big difference between Game 1 was penalties with 14 power plays awarded compared to just 4, two days before. Both teams went 0 for 7 on Thursday. Despite the skill on display, there has yet to be a power play goal scored in this series.
Vanuden and Dyck were the Game Stars.
With the series tied at one, Game 3 action is slated for Friday (March 29) at the Brindy.
(Our apologies to fans, there was no video available).