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When the Victoria Cougars scored on their first shot on goal
against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Saturday, it opened the floodgates on
a 6-1 victory and a berth in the Cyclone Taylor Cup final.
When the Cougars scored on their first shot on goal against
the Richmond Sockeyes on Sunday in the championship, they were hoping it would
be déjà vu all over again. But it was not to be. This time it was one and done
for the VIJHL champions as they fell 4-1 to Richmond and had to settle for the silver
medal for the second year in a row.
The PJHL champion Sockeyes scored four unanswered goals in
the second period, chasing goalie Evan Roch (three goals on 18 shots) in favour
of Comox Valley native and WHL Victoria Royals draft
pick Michael Herringer. He played well in relief, stopping six of seven shots.
But the damage had been done, and Kootenay Alder, after giving up that early
goal, kicked out the next 17 that came his way.
The teams opened the matinee match-up with even play. Matthew
Ho opened the scoring at 3:18 of the
first period from Dane Feeney and Sam Rice. The Sockeyes started coming on as
the period wound down could not beat Roch until 7:28 of the second when Jeremy
Hamaguchi tipped in a Scott Wessa blast from the point.
Three minutes later Jake Roder put on a great individual
effort to score his fourth goal of the tourney on a wrap-around, and the
Sockeyes were suddenly in control of the game. They were skating well, moving
the puck crisply and checking tightly at both ends of the ice.
Liam Lawson made it 3-1 at 11:52 when he finished off a
two-on-one rush by rifling a shot to the top right corner. Victoria called timeout and switched goalies
at that point. But Richmond
was on a roll and would continue to carry the play to the Cougars. Rudi
Thorsteinson was left wide open at the left side of the net for an easy goal at
18:28, and that was more than enough to earn Richmond their fifth B.C. Junior B
Final shots on goal were 25-18. Neither team took a penalty
in the game. Players of the Game were Ho and Rhys Williams for Victoria and
Roder and Hamaguchi for Richmond.
Richmond (4-0) went undefeated at the four-team, four-day tourney while Victoria’s (2-2) two losses were to the Sockeyes. KIJHL champion Castlegar Rebels (2-2) won bronze while the host Comox Valley Glacier Kings (0-4) finished fourth.