As a young expansion team, of course the Nanaimo Buccaneers will try to find moral victories in defeat.
The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League club lost 5-3 to the Saanich Braves on Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
The loss dropped the Buccaneers (4-4) to .500, but Nanaimo generally outplayed Saanich on the night. Almost the whole third period was played in the Braves’ end of the ice, including one final flurry in the last 30 seconds.
“We pull our goalie, a guy goes in, he’s in the slot, he’s right there, he’s three inches from the tying goal,” said Brad Knight, Bucs coach. “We just can’t seem to catch a break.”
In the big picture, he likes the way his team is trending. Guys are making better decisions on the ice, he said, and younger players seem to be gaining confidence as the season goes along.
“I’m really proud of the kids for where we are,” Knight said. “We’re .500 hockey, an expansion team with a bunch of 17-year-olds and we’re right in the mix.”
In Thursday’s loss Lucas Franssen scored two goals for Nanaimo, Lynden Eddy had the other and Garrett Dunlop and Jordan Levesque had two assists each. Riley Medves was tagged with the loss as his team outshot the Braves 34-24.
The next night the Bucs fell 2-1 on the road to the Peninsula Panthers. Goalie Cameron Large was named second star after making 28 saves in the loss, and Dunlop scored Nanaimo’s goal.
GAME ON … The Bucs play Comox Valley on Thursday (Oct. 4) at 7:15 p.m. at the NIC.