These last couple games will matter to the Nanaimo Buccaneers.
The city’s junior B hockey club closes out the regular season this week as it hosts the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Thursday (Feb. 12) at the Nanaimo Ice Centre and then visits the Oceanside Generals on Saturday.
The Bucs climbed into second place in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s North Island Division last week with a 4-4 tie in Victoria against the Westshore Wolves on Wednesday.
Although the Bucs edged ahead of the Yetis in the standings, Comox Valley still has a couple of games in hand on Nanaimo, which means this Thursday’s matchup could go a long way toward determining home-ice advantage in the post-season.
Glen Smith, general manager of the Buccaneers, said his players understand the importance of the last few regular-season games.
“They’re a young group, so there’s going to be lots of ups and downs and lots of learning and just when you think they’ve got it, they don’t have it,” Smith said. “We’ve all spoken to them and stressed the urgency … but at the same time, not to try to put too much pressure on them.”
In last week’s tie with the Wolves, Chad Bell scored two goals, Owen Dalman and Joe Gage also tallied and Jakob Severson tended goal.
The next day, Nanaimo lost 3-2 to the Kerry Park Islanders at the NIC after allowing a last-second goal in the third period. Jordan Levesque and Carter Turnbull scored.
The Bucs visited the Glacier Kings Saturday after press time.
GAME ON … Thursday’s game against the Glacier Kings is a 7:15 p.m. start at the NIC.