The Buccaneers were bounced from the playoffs.
Nanaimo’s junior B hockey club fell 5-3 to the Comox Valley Glacier Kings up Island on Tuesday night to lose their first-round series, four games to one.
“We gave it our all, we really did,” said Derek Bachynski, coach of the Buccaneers. “We went out with a fight and we battled from start to finish.”
After losing Game 4 the night before by an 8-4 score, the Bucs were focused and ready for Game 5, said the coach, but still found themselves trailing early. The score got to 4-3 early in the third, but the Bucs came no closer.
“We never gave up,” Bachynski said. “I was proud of the effort of our boys in the last game.”
Carter Turnbull, Zach Funk and Clayton Peace scored goals and Jakob Severson made 26 saves in defeat.
The Bucs allowed 4.8 goals against per game in the series; the team was thin on the blueline, with two forwards skating as defencemen.
But Bachysnski said the team won’t make excuses, and he felt the real difference in the series was that the Yetis had more experience in the lineup.
“It’s the little things – knowing playoff hockey and what it really takes. At the end of the game, I told the boys, hopefully we learn from this to make us stronger. We had a young team, but we had a young team that really could make a push. I really believed in them and they believe in themselves.”
The Bucs have just one graduating player, 21-year-old forward Johnathan Speer, so there will be a lot of pieces in place for a strong season in 2015-16. Bachynski, who was in his first year as a Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League head coach, said he knows now the calibre of the league and what kind of players can be successful.
“Overall [this season] was just a learning experience for a lot of us,” he said. “So we build off it and learn from it. Learn from your mistakes and just get better every day.”