The Buccaneers got a clutch goal late in Game 1 and were able to start the playoffs with a win.
The Nanaimo Buccaneers defeated the Oceanside Generals 5-4 on Tuesday in the first game of the Vancouver Island Hockey League post-season. Trent Bell scored with just over four minutes left to snap a tie.
“It was back and forth. I think we might have given them a little too much offence, [more] than we would have liked,” Bell said. “But at the same time, we battled back. Every time they scored, we’d always have a big shift right after.”
He agreed that his team might have had a bit of nerves for Game 1.
“The first one, you don’t really know what to expect, every year, even if you’ve been there before, it’s always different,” Bell said. “But I think you just have to make sure you’re working hard and competing and you settle in.”
Curtis Toneff, Bucs coach, said his team knew going in that it was going to be an emotional series and he said his guys came to play.
“Playoff hockey, it’s a game of bounces and a game of inches and at the end of the day, we clutched up and did the job and that’s all you can ask,” he said.
Mathieu Jallabert led Nanaimo with a goal and two assists and other Bucs scorers were Clayton Peace, Brandon Armstrong and Luc Wilson. Derek Krall made 23 saves for the win.
For Oceanside, Brodie Smith scored twice and Brady Kay and Landon Dziadyk were other scorers. Jacob Sweet made 32 saves in a losing cause.
Bell said winning Game 1 was important because it was a game that might have gone either way, and Toneff said it helps to maintain his team’s home-ice advantage.
“You’ve got to be hard at home and taking Game 1 at home is big,” the coach said.
GAME ON … The Buccaneers and Generals play Game 2 on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.