The Nanaimo Buccaneers are one win away from advancing to the next round of the VIJHL playoffs.
The Bucs doubled up the Oceanside Generals 4-2 on Saturday night in Parksville to take a three-games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven series.
The contest was close for one period, tied 0-0 through 20 minutes, but the Buccaneers took advantage of lapses by the Generals in the second frame to build a 3-0 lead. A short-handed marker in the third period made it 4-0 for Nanaimo. The Gens played hard over the last five minutes to make the game closer, but time ran out.
“We started the second period well where we’re banging the bodies, we’re giving it to them and putting the pressure on. Then we thought it was easy and it wasn’t good enough,” said Jesse Hammill, Generals coach. “If we could play like we did in the last five minutes that would be great, but that was a tough one.”
VIDEO: Buccaneers score late to beat Generals in Game 1
VIDEO: Buccaneers double up Generals to win Game 2
Billy Walters scored two goals for Nanaimo and Cam Nickerson and Dylan Hartl also tallied. Blake Wood tended goal and was called upon to make 36 saves in the win as shots were 43-38 for the visitors.
Andre Sutter and Brodie Smith scored for the home team and goalie Spencer Deakin was a game star in defeat.
With his team now facing elimination, Oceanside’s coach said it’s the players who will determine the outcome.
“It’s down to them now,” said Hammill. “We have to execute and play a certain way. If we come on Monday and don’t, it’s going to be a disappointing ending to the season.”
GAME ON … Game 4 will be Monday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. at Oceanside Place in Parksville. Game 5, if necessary, will be Thursday, March 1 at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
-with files from Michael Briones/Black Press