Players from the Victoria Cougars and Nanaimo Bucanneers converge in the corner at Archie Browning Sports Centre during a Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League game Sunday in Esquimalt. The visitors came away with a 4-1 win. Photo by Spencer Pickles/Black Press

Cougars clipped by Bucs, remain tied for first in South

Victoria junior B puck squad neck and neck with Saanich

Trent Bell scored two goals as the league-leading Nanaimo Buccaneers posted a 4-1 victory over the Victoria Cougars on Sunday afternoon in Esquimalt.

Despite the loss, the Cougars (20-15-1-1) )sat even with the Saanich Braves (19-14-2-2) atop the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s South Division to start the week.

Next up for Victoria is a home game against the Oceanside Generals, who sit third in the North Division. Game time is 7 p.m. at Archie Browning Sports Centre.

On Sunday, Bell opened the scoring with a shorthanded marker at 6:06 of the first period when his centering pass deflected in off a Victoria defender. The Bucs extended their lead to 2-0 late in the second when Bell one-timed a from pass from Jayden Schubert over Cougars goalie Nate Reinhart.

Mateo Albinati pulled the Cougars within a goal 3:35 into the third period, scoring his fourth goal in as many games. But the visitors struck quickly, with Owen Dalman deflecting a Brandon Roberge pass for the 3-1 goal just 14 seconds later.

Nanaimo (29-7-0-1) sealed the deal with a power play goal from Cam Nickerson at the 8:08 mark. Reinhart finished with 38 saves, while Derek Krall made 35 saves for Nanaimo.

Victoria defenceman Carl Ewert left the game late in the first period but returned early in the second sporting a full cage. The Cougars defenseman lost four teeth after being clipped by a high stick from Schubert, who received a double minor penalty on the play.

editor@vicnews.com

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