Buccaneers win to stay alive in playoffs
It was a possible elimination game, and the Nanaimo Buccaneers played like it.
The Bucs defeated the Campbell River Storm by a 4-2 score on Thursday night at the Nanaimo Ice Centre to force a Game 6 in the best-of-seven playoff series.
Nanaimo built up a 3-0 lead through two periods, then survived some penalty trouble in the third to hang on. Right from the opening faceoff, the Bucs played physical, blocked shots and won races to the puck.
"It basically comes down to desperate times, desperate measures," said Jake Calverley, the game's first star.
He said the Buccaneers played smart and sound and also unselfishly.
"We were all out there to do it for each other and that's what we've got to do if we want to win this series," Calverley said.
Nanaimo helped its cause in Game 5 by scoring early. Johnathan Speer threw a shot on goal from the corner and ricocheted the puck in off the Storm goalie just three and a half minutes in.
In the second period, Garrett Dunlop scored off a giveaway and then Calverley tallied a power-play goal in the last minute of the frame.
The Storm made things interesting when Curtis Toneff and Michael Olson scored in the third, but Bucs defenceman Thor Rosback bounced in an empty-net goal off the side boards to seal the win with 13 seconds left. Ryan Waldhaus was the winning goalie, making 16 saves.
Buccaneers coach Brad Knight said his team tried to slow down the Storm in Game 5 after allowing too many easy zone entries the past few games of the series.
"They're such a big, skilled team with tremendous amounts of weapons, so we just have to battle real hard and we have to eliminate the ice that they have to work with," Knight said.
The win puts the Bucs back in the series, and they know it.
"We're feeling really good right now," Calverley said. "We know that if we keep that work ethic up and we all keep doing our jobs and doing all the right things, we'll get the win in Game 6."
GAME ON … The next game in the series is Friday (Feb. 28) at 7:30 p.m. at Campbell River's Strathcona Gardens. Game 7, if necessary, would be Sunday at 1:45 p.m. at the NIC.