Buccaneers beat best team in league

The Nanaimo Buccaneers beat the Campbell River Storm by a 5-3 score on Thursday night at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

Nanaimo Buccaneers player Jonah Pearson whacks at a rebound in front of Campbell River Storm goalie Jesse Michel during Thursday's VIJHL game at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

Nanaimo Buccaneers player Jonah Pearson whacks at a rebound in front of Campbell River Storm goalie Jesse Michel during Thursday's VIJHL game at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

The Nanaimo Buccaneers needed a win and they got one against the league’s best team.

The Bucs beat the Campbell River Storm by a 5-3 score on Thursday night at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. It was the first victory of the season against the Storm, and it snapped a five-game winless streak.

“Obviously we needed that,” said Derek Bachynski, coach of the Buccaneers. “We were in a little bit of a funk the last few games, but I think with that victory we’re back on track.”

The Storm scored early in the third period to go up 3-2, but the Bucs battled back. Quinlan Moore scored the game-tying goal on the power play with nine minutes left, then Trent Bell scored a pair to complete a hat trick.

“We lost some games that we should have won last week, so we had a little bit of fire in the belly,” said Bell. “We came out strong. I think we played our best complete 60 minutes of the season.”

The coach praised the goaltending – Greg Maggio made 38 saves and was chosen the game’s first star – and said his team played playoff-style hockey.

“When we’re at our best, we’re relentless and we’re skating and we’re doing all the little things correctly…” the coach said. “I told the boys, we’ve got to start finishing our hits; we’ve got to start playing meaner and we’ve got to start playing a little bit tougher.”

Jordan Levesque had Nanaimo’s other goal on Thursday, plus three assists, and Carter Turnbull dished four assists. Will McNamara had a goal and two assists for the Storm. Shots were 41-24 in favour of the visitors.

Bachysnki said the victory will be important for his team moving forward.

“Hopefully the feeling about how good it feels to win is back in the room and I think it is,” he said.

GAME ON … The Buccaneers host the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Thursday (Jan. 15) at 7:15 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre and then play a rare Saturday night home game against the Storm, a 7 p.m. faceoff.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com.