Playing in a fast-paced game, the Nanaimo Buccaneers had another gear and so they were able to win.
The Bucs beat the Saanich Braves 3-1 on Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Nanaimo played one of its best games of the season, but the score was still 0-0 with just over five minutes left and the home team needed some late-game heroics to come up with the victory.
“To get rewarded with a win against a good team like Saanich tonight for that effort was great to see and it’s going to build our confidence going forward,” said Dan Lemmon, Buccaneers coach.
He said the team brought a full 60-minute effort.
“We didn’t get much puck luck early in the game and we kind of stuck to our defensive game and kept getting pucks in deep and eliminated their chances,” Lemmon said.
Chad Bell, who scored two goals, said even in crunch time, the Buccaneers stuck to their game plan and kept executing it.
“I thought we did a good job limiting their shots tonight and just did a good job of shutting them down…” the team captain said. “The whole team, all four lines and all three D pairs, had a great effort out there; Johnny [Hawthorne] did a good job in net.”
Bell broke the tie when he won a race to get to a pass from linemate Danny Pion. He got just enough of the puck and crashed the crease to help it get over the goal line. Nolan Richardson scored a short-handed goal three minutes later when he stole a puck and went in alone on a breakaway. While the Braves scored to get within one, Bell added an empty netter to ice the win.
Hawthorne made 23 saves as the Bucs outshot the Braves 30-24.
The day before, the Buccaneers edged the Westshore Wolves 3-2 in Victoria. Jayden Schubert scored the game-winning goal with three minutes left and Clayton Peace and Cale Cripps were the other Nanaimo scorers. Hawthorne made 30 saves in that one as his team was outshot 32-25.
The Buccaneers have one more game this week, a road tilt Saturday (Oct. 15) against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
“Today was a full team effort,” Lemmon said. “If we bring that for Comox, we’re going to be there for a result again … If we play like we did tonight, we’ve got a chance to beat any team, any given day in this league.”
GAME ON … The Bucs and Yetis meet Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Comox Valley Sports Centre. Next home action for the Buccaneers is Thursday (Oct. 20) when the Wolves visit the NIC for a 7:15 p.m. game.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) October 14, 2016