The Nanaimo Buccaneers made it a September to remember.
The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team won again Thursday night, 4-1 over the Saanich Braves, to complete a perfect month with eight wins, zero losses.
The Bucs took a period to get going on Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre, but outscored the Braves 3-1 in the second and then iced the game with a late empty netter. Riel Gibson scored a hat trick, Nick White had a goal and an assist and Garrett Dunlop had two helpers. Ryan Waldhaus stopped 20 of 21 shots for the win.
“The second and third we definitely got on the forecheck hard and started to get a cycle going in their end and that’s how we got our goals,” said Gibson.
Brad Knight, Buccaneers coach, said a big reason for his team’s success so far has been puck possession – not only does it lead to offence, but it gives the opponent only limited time and opportunities to score.
The Bucs are also playing with the required intensity.
“When we start to slack off, [our coach] lets us know and it keeps us motivated, which is good, because it’s easy to get overconfident and let up,” said Gibson.
The Buccaneers are a skilled team, he said, but they know it’s hard work that will win games.
“We’ll keep coming to work every day and see how we do,” said Knight. “We might as well enjoy it. It’s hockey, it’s supposed to be fun [and] right now it’s fun.”
GAME ON … Next action for the Bucs (8-0) isn’t until next Thursday (Oct. 3) when they host the second-placed Campbell River Storm (3-3-1-1) at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.