Cougars clinch VIJHL first round playoff bye

Nothing is slowing the Victoria Cougars, who have locked up first in the league with eight games still remaining

The Victoria Cougars locked up a bye through the first round of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs with a 7-3 win over the Kerry Park Islanders on Saturday.

Down 3-1 in the second period, the Cougars regrouped for six unanswered goals. Alternate captain Steve Axford led the way with a goal and three assists. Also scoring was Mark Walton with two, and Sam Rice, Brody Coulter, newcomer Colin Minardi and Jake Nixon with one each. Kurtis Kunz picked up three assists.

With 28 wins, five losses and one overtime loss, the Cougars are 18 points up on the Comox Valley Glacier Kings for first in the league with 57 points. Eight games remain for the Cougars in their 42-game schedule.

Next up for the Cougars is a visit to Comox on Saturday (Jan. 21).

This Friday, the Peninsula Panthers (14-14-2) host the Saanich Braves (15-13-4) at Panorama Recreation Centre at 7:30 p.m.