Buccaneers challenge themselves

The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team breezed past the Kerry Park Islanders 5-1 on Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

Nanaimo Buccaneers forwards Will McNamara

Nanaimo Buccaneers forwards Will McNamara

The Nanaimo Buccaneers, firmly in first place, are winning all the games they’re supposed to win.

The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team breezed past the Kerry Park Islanders 5-1 on Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

The home team built a 4-0 lead, but had a lazy defensive zone lapse that allowed the visitors to make it 4-1 late in the second period.

The coaching staff challenged players to buckle down, and the Buccaneers didn’t allow the Islanders any scoring chances in the third.

“We shouldn’t,” said Brad Knight, Bucs coach. “If you want to be successful you’ve got to be able to play in your own end.”

Corey Renwick, alternate captain, said his team tried to help out its goalie by limiting shots against.

“We really took pride in our defensive game toward the end of the game. It was good to really shut them down,” he said.

Goalie Riley Medves needed to make only 16 saves as shots ended up 48-17. Will McNamara, Jordan Levesque, Cole Newman, Dan Foglietta and Lynden Eddy scored for Nanaimo.

The Bucs (16-12-2) play Saturday (Dec. 15) on the road against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings (11-14-2).

“[Thursday’s win] means absolutely nothing if we don’t bring it on Saturday,” said Knight. “Hopefully we’re ready.”

GAME ON … The next home game for the Bucs is Thursday (Dec. 20) against the Campbell River Storm at 7:15 p.m. at the NIC.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com