Bucs back on home ice

The Nanaimo Buccaneers had a first-place fall, and now they’ll try for a winning winter.

The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team resumes its home schedule tonight (Jan. 3) with a home game against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. It’s a chance for the Bucs (19-13-2), the North Island Division leaders, to create further separation from the second-placed Kings (15-15-2).

The Buccaneers had a chance over the holidays to look back on their first half, in which they arguably overachieved for an expansion team.

“We’re definitely proud of it, especially in the first season; it’s a complete new team, everything’s brand new,” said Quentin McShane, team captain. “It’s a good feeling; we’ve just got to keep it going.”

He said the strong start doesn’t necessarily make the Bucs reassess their goals. They’ll just continue to try to do their best.

“We’re going to keep pushing for first place. We knew coming in that we could play with these teams and I think we’ve certainly proved that,” said McShane.

Coach Brad Knight said the team will try to keep its focus on continued improvement, not the North Island Division title.

“We just want to play well down the stretch,” he said. “We’re not going to be watching the standings. It’s not about first place to make us successful.”

GAME ON … The Buccaneers and Glacier Kings play tonight at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre … The Bucs defeated the Westshore Wolves 5-4 in overtime Wednesday night. Garrett Dunlop scored the OT winner, his second goal of the game, and other Nanaimo scorers were Corey Renwick, Derian Hamilton and Dan Foglietta. Cameron Large was the winning goalie.

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