The Victoria Cougars showed on Tuesday night that they will not be taking a major step back this season.
The defending Vancouver Island Junior B Hockey League champions beat the second-year Nanaimo Buccaneers 3-1 at the Archie Browning Sports Centre in Victoria.
Keelan Larson scored the lone goal for Nanaimo while both goalies played well in keeping the Bucs in the game. Ryan Waldhaus stopped 23-of-26 shots while Steven Ridley stopped all 16 he faced.
The Cougars outshot Nanaimo 42-22, including 19-5 in the first period.
The Cougars got a lucky break on the first goal, as it ricochetted off the glass and into the net past Waldhaus who came out to play the puck.
Up next for Nanaimo, who finished with the best record in the VIJHL North Division last season is hosting the Campbell River Storm on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. They then close out their exhibition schedule at the Oceanside Generals on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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