*Photo credit: Jon Howe
The Richard Matvichuk era started with a victory Friday in the B.C. capital. Colby McAuley paced the Cougars offense with two goals while Kody McDonald added two assists. Ty Edmonds was excellent in goal turning aside 30 shots to help the Cougars to a 3-1 victory. Ty Westgard had Victoria’s lone tally which came late in the second period. Special teams played a big part in the game as the Cougars penalty kill went a perfect nine-for-nine.
6:53 into the game the Cougars drew first blood. Sophomore defenceman Max Martin pounced on a loose puck in the slot and wired it past a sprawling Griffen Outhouse. For Martin it was his first ever WHL goal, and the first goal of the Cougars 2016-17 season.
Just under three minutes later the visitors struck again. This time it was Colby McAuley who redirected home a Yan Khomenko pass from in close to double-up the Cougars lead.
Victoria came on in the later stages of the first, but Ty Edmonds rose to the occasion. After one period the Cougars led 2-0 and outshot the Royals 7-5.
Dave Lowry’s Royals came out firing in the second period, but once again Edmonds had the answer. They outshot the Cougars 14-4 in the middle frame, and finally in the later stages of the second period they snuck one past him.
Ty Westgard parked himself in front of the Cougars goal and redirected home a low shot from Ethan Price to make the score 2-1.
After a back-and-forth third period the Cougars cemented their victory when Colby McAuley buried his second of the game into an empty net. A just reward for the Cougars considering they killed off three penalties in the final period, including a 29 second five-on-three.
In the end the Royals outshot the Cougars 31-20, but went zero-for-nine on the power play. Conversely the Cougars went zero-for-four on their power play chances.
It was the first WHL victory for new Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk. The Cougars will be right back at it against the Royals on Saturday night at the Save on Foods Memorial Centre.
- It was the first WHL game for forward Brendan Kochanski and defenceman Ryan Schoettler.
- It also marked the first Cougars victory for new Associate Coach Steve O’Rourke, and interim Assistant Coach Trevor Sprague.
- The attendance in Victoria Friday was 6539.