By Mark Berry
The Campbell River Storm and Victoria Cougars are renowned for their close playoff battles. Heading into the weekend, nine of their past eleven post-season meetings have been decided by a goal.
On Friday, Dom Kolbeins scored 23 seconds into overtime to break the 2-2 deadlock and dampen the spirits of the Brindy faithful tying the League Championship Finals at 1 game a piece.
Victoria never trailed with goals from Tyler Vanuden and Nic Gomerich. Campbell River responded with markers from Brett Kinley and Carter Hikichi.
The Cougars dictated the play in the first forty minutes and when the Storm came on in the third, the Cat’s netminder Anthony Ciurro bended but didn’t break.
Following the game, Storm Head Coach Lee Stone, normally very talkative, was to the point, “The team that plays closest to sixty minutes is going to win the hockey game and they played closer to sixty than we did so they won the hockey game.”
With the series tied at 1, the action switched to Esquimalt on Sunday for game 3. The Cougars opened the scoring in the first on an ice level blast, through traffic, from former Glacier King Kyle Wade.
The South Division Champs held the 1-0 lead until the third period when Storm Captain Kobe Oishi scored after some hard work by Dylan McCann to get the puck to the front of the net.
Minutes later, Affiliated Player, Pearce Messer, scored from the high slot on the power play. Messer was added to the lineup after news that Mitchell Williams was sidelined with the flu.
Campbell River went 1 for 4 with the man advantage while the Cougars were 0 for 7. Victoria, which had the best power play in the regular season (24 per cent), is struggling at just 8% against the Storm.
Campbell River will bring their 2-1 series lead back to Rod Brind’Amour Arena on Tuesday night for game four of this best of 7. The puck drop is at 7:30.