Buccaneers beat Islanders on deadline day
The distractions of deadline day didn't keep the Nanaimo Buccaneers from winning once again.
The city's Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team defeated the Kerry Park Islanders 2-1 on Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
"That's a Jan. 10 trade deadline day game," said Brad Knight, Buccaneers coach. "Their minds are wondering what's going on, what's happening, who's changing their rosters. So it's a real tough one for the kids."
On paper the matchup between the first-placed Bucs (21-14-2) and the last-placed Isles (3-29-2) was a mismatch, but the visitors came to play.
"Kerry Park played well," Knight said. "They got some good goaltending from [Jackson] Jane and I thought we hit him a lot."
Shots were 50-22 in favour of Nanaimo as the home team carried the play.
"We kept them in their zone most of the game; they didn't really generate many chances," said Beau Blanaru, Bucs alternate captain.
Still, Bucs goalie Cameron Large needed to make a tough glove save with two and a half minutes left to preserve his team's lead. Will McNamara and Blanaru provided the goal support.
The game marked the debuts of newcomers Noah Russi and Riel Gibson who were traded from the Oceanside Generals earlier in the day for future considerations. As of press time, only one more Bucs player had moved up to a junior A team, Corey Renwick, though two others, Jordan Levesque and Adam Smith, were called up to junior A earlier this month.
Gibson, an 18-year-old forward, had been tied for the team lead in scoring on the Generals at the time of the trade with 31 points. He and Russi, an 18-year-old defenceman, are both in their second full seasons in the VIJHL.
"Russi brings a little bit of experience and I thought he made a couple good decisions which showed he's been in the league," said Knight. "Gibson's got good speed; he seems to have a really good skill set so hopefully he'll be able to fit somewhere in the top six."
Those guys will get to face their old team right away as the Bucs and Gens play Saturday (Jan. 12) at Oceanside Place.
"We hate Parksville and Parksville hates us," said Knight. "I don't mean hate as in a bad thing, I mean hate as in a fun, good competition."
GAME ON … Saturday's game is at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday 10 Buccaneers players and their coach will be participating in all-star festivities at Parksville's Oceanside Place. The VIJHL All-Star Classic is at 4:30 p.m. following an all-star prospects game at 1:30 p.m. and a skills competition at 3:30 p.m. For ticket information, visit www.vijhl.com.