The Kraken faced off against the Victoria Cougars at Archie Browning Arena on Thursday evening, Feb. 16 in a game that meant a lot more to Lake Cowichan than Victoria in the VIJHL standings.
The Cougars have already clinched a playoff position and, for the second year in a row, the Kraken are battling their expansion-mates, the Port Alberni Bombers, for the league’s final playoff spot.
Prior to the contest, head to head this season, the Cougars had the edge, winning all three battles, but the last two meetings were lost by just one goal each, with one of those losses coming in overtime, meaning the Kraken were capable of competing with the perennial contenders.
While eight different players earned points for Lake Cowichan, only three of those points were goals in a 7-3 loss.
After a Cougars goal to start off the scoring, Mitchell Billings potted his 10th of the year, shorthanded, from Aiden Eddy with two minutes left in the first period. Just 36 seconds after the Kraken goal, however, the Cougars countered on the powerplay and when the period ended, it was 2-1 for Victoria.
The Kraken found themselves on the penalty kill to begin the second period and it wound up biting them in the behind. The Cougars potted their third 49 seconds in, thanks to having the man advantage.
Andrew White scored his fourth from Richard Bergman and Sukhraj Narwal in retaliation but the second period ended with Victoria still on top by one, with a 3-2 score.
Things fell apart for Lake Cowichan in the third. Victoria scored in two bursts: first at 2:23 and 3:21 and then again at 11:13 and 11:52, the last one on the powerplay, to blow the game wide open.
Charlie Williams added one for the Kraken, from Kyler Smith and Carter Anderson, but that’s as close as Lake Cowichan would come as the game ultimately ended 7-3 for the Cougars.
Victoria went 3-for-5 on the powerplay, as it proved to be a major driver in the Cougars’ win.
Ultimately the hard work put forth on the ice in the Kraken’s final trio of games will determine whether the Kraken will be able to secure their first playoff spot in franchise history.
The team played Kerry Park on Feb. 18. Lake Cowichan visited the Oceanside Generals, the league’s top team, on Feb. 22 in Oceanside, and wrap up the regular season at home against the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Sunday, Feb. 26. The puck drops at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena at 5:30 p.m.