Wolves howl to first VIJHL win

A single goal is all the Westshore Wolves needed to win its first game in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League last week.

Victoria Cougars defenceman Rhys Williams moves the puck along the boards away from Westshore Wolves player Brandon Nicholson at Archie Browning Sports Centre on Sunday. The Cougars won 7-3.

A single goal is all the Westshore Wolves needed to win its first game in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League last week.

The Wolves shutout the Kerry Park Islanders 1-0 on a goal by Clay Carson, the first ever for the franchise.

“It was nice to start it off like that,” said captain Josh Bloomenthal, formerly of the Peninsula Panthers.

“We’re confident, we like the core we have, and we’ve still got a few more pieces coming. I can’t say enough good things about (coach-GM) Vic Gervais.”

On Sunday the Wolves faced its first major test, the league champion Victoria Cougars. In preseason play the Cougars blasted the Wolves 14-3. But at the Archie Browning Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon, the Wolves were no pushovers.

The Cougars took a 4-0 lead after two periods, but the Wolves stormed back with three straight goals in less than four minutes to start the third, and put a scare into the Cougars.

The veteran Cougars restored the lead, however, on a series of powerplays, and won 7-3.

“The Cougars are beatable, but we took too many selfish penalties,” Bloomenthal said.

The Langford product, and third-year UVic student, was part of the B.C. champion Panthers who defeated the Cougars in the VIJHL playoffs two years running in 2010 and 11.

“(Westshore) is going to be a good team and it’s great to have some parity in the league,” Cougars coach Mark Van Helvoirt said. “The league needed a little fresh blood.”

The Wolves host the Campbell River Storm at Bear Mountain Arena on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 7:30 p.m.

The Cougars visit the expansion Nanaimo Buccanneers Thursday, Oceanside Generals on Saturday, and Wolves on Wednesday, Sept 19, at Bear Mountain Arena.

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