Cougars start VIJHL final against Comox on the road

The Victoria Cougars got an early present, a berth in the Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial championship.

The Victoria Cougars got an early present, a berth in the Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial championship.

The Cougars will play the Comox Valley Glacier Kings for the Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy league championship.

Because the Glacier Kings are in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League final, and are also hosting the junior B provincial championship Fred “Cyclone” Taylor Cup April 11 to 14, the Cougars have their return ticket to provincials by default.

Well, not quite. The Cougars earned it by eliminating the Peninsula Panthers and Saanich Braves in five games each for the spot in the VIJHL final. The Glacier Kings beat the Kerry Park Islanders and Nanaimo Buccaneers.

But the main prize attached with the Patterson Trophy is a trip to provincials. Without it, some wonder if there will be as much on the line in the final between Comox and Victoria.

“We can’t completely ignore it but our goal from the start was to be (league) champions and it remains the same,” said Cougars coach Mark Van Helvoirt.

“We can’t change the way we play in the final.”

With the Victoria Curling Classic at the Cougar’s home rink of Archie Browning Sports Centre this week, the Cougars are forced to open the VIJHL final on the road Saturday in Comox. The Cougars have been practising at Bear Mountain Arena in the meantime.

“I think it’s something we can use to our benefit, hopefully it takes the pressure off for Game 1,” Van Helvoirt said.

The adjusted schedule means Games 2 and 3 will be March 26 and 28, 6:30 and 7 p.m. at Archie Browning, respectively.

How they match up, courtesy of Victoria Cougars

HOW THEY GOT HERE:  Victoria – Eliminated Peninsula Panthers, 4-1.  Eliminated Saanich Braves, 4-1.  Comox Valley – Eliminated Oceanside Generals, 4-0.  Eliminated Nanaimo Buccaneers, 4-2

TEAM LEADERS:  Victoria – Brody Coulter, 12 goals; Dane Feeney, 17 assists; Dane Feeney, 26 points; Robert Zadra, 42 penalty minutes.  Comox Valley – Rylan Ball, 10 goals; Andrew White, 11 assists; Rylan Ball, 14 points; Michael Pond, Calvin Hadley, 25 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS:  Victoria – Evan Roch (2.58 goals against average, .897 save percentage); Michael Herringer (0.69 goals against average, .971 save percentage).  Comox Valley – Michael Hails (2.20 goals against average, .911 save percentage); Bryce Di Rocco (no appearances)

POWER PLAY:  Victoria – 29/73, 39.7 percent.  Comox Valley – 15/57, 26.3 percent

PENALTY KILL:  Victoria – 52/58, 89.7 percent.  Comox Valley – 45/51, 88.2 percent

Sked for Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy VIJHL final:

Game 2.  March 26, 2013.  Comox Valley Glacier Kings @ Victoria Cougars

Game 3.  March 28, 2013.  Comox Valley Glacier Kings @ Victoria Cougars

Game 4.  March 30, 2013.  Victoria Cougars @ Comox Valley Glacier Kings

Game 5 (if necessary).  March 31, 2013.  Comox Valley Glacier Kings @ Victoria Cougars

Game 6 (if necessary).  April 2, 2013.  Victoria Cougars @ Comox Valley Glacier Kings

Game 7 (if necessary).  April 3, 2013.  Comox Valley Glacier Kings @ Victoria Cougars