Nanaimo Buccaneers player Chad Bell

Nanaimo Buccaneers player Chad Bell

Buccaneers clinch home-ice advantage

The Nanaimo Buccaneers doubled up the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 6-3 on Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

The Nanaimo Buccaneers gave themselves a leg up in their looming first-round playoff series.

The Bucs doubled up the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 6-3 on Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s North Division. It means the Bucs will have home-ice advantage in the first round against the Glacier Kings.

“Today was a real good step for us in the right direction, kind of solidifying what kind of hockey we want to play against them, but also establishing kind of a presence on home ice,” said Dan Lemmon, Bucs coach.

The Buccaneers found a balance between playing physical and playing disciplined, the coach said, and they kept things simple and scored goals with six different players lighting the lamp. Jordan Levesque, D.J. Petruzzelli, Jake Calverley, Chad Bell, Billy Walters and Mitch Popp scored for Nanaimo and Alex Orth made 25 saves for the win.

“Today everything was pointing in the right direction,” Lemmon said. “We needed all 20 players; I thought today we had all 20 players. And if we can get that consistency, we’re going to be a tough team to beat down the stretch.”

The Bucs cannot climb or drop in the standings now, so the final five regular-season contests will be about honing their game.

“X’s and O’s,” said Lemmon. “Making simple plays, managing our highs and lows during games, playing the type of hockey that is going to be able to last in the playoffs and the type of hockey that we’ll be getting comfortable with by the time we get into the playoffs.”

GAME ON … The Bucs visit the Oceanside Generals on Saturday (Feb. 6) and then host the Gens on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. at the NIC.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com