Buccaneers earn first-ever playoff win

Nanaimo Buccaneers defenceman Noah Russi gets the puck away from the front of his net during the second period of Tuesday
Nanaimo Buccaneers defenceman Noah Russi gets the puck away from the front of his net during the second period of Tuesday's playoff game against the Kerry Park Islanders at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The Nanaimo Buccaneers were playoff-ready at puck drop and they took Game 1.

The Bucs defeated the Kerry Park Islanders 5-1 on Tuesday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre as the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League post-season got underway.

The Buccaneers struck for three goals in the first period. Garrett Dunlop got things started with a power play marker two minutes into the game, Dan Foglietta finished off a two-on-one with a deke, and then Dunlop roofed a backhander.

In the second period the Islanders whacked away at a puck under Bucs goalie Riley Medves and eventually got it over the goal line.

Come the third period, the home team iced the win as Lynden Eddy scored on a breakaway and then Beau Blanaru went to the crease and tipped one in.

"We were more physical then them, we got more shots through, just our patience and our control of the puck is what's going to make the difference for us," said Johnathan Speer, Buccaneers alternate captain.

The Islanders spent a lot of time in the penalty box, whereas the Bucs mostly kept their cool and enjoyed 11 power plays.

"I liked the way that we finished with toughness, to say that we're not going to be pushed around in the series," said Brad Knight, Buccaneers coach. "Although we're an offensive club, we can play physical with any team."

GAME ON … Shots in Game 1 were 30-27 as Medves earned the win in goal … Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be Thursday (Feb. 21) at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Cam Large will be the Buccaneers' starting goalie in that one … The Buccaneers won three awards at the VIJHL's year-end awards ceremony Sunday in Victoria. Dunlop was chosen the Rookie of the Year, Knight got Coach of the Year and the Bucs were recognized as the league's most sportsmanlike team.

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