Oceanside Generals player Brodie Smith, left, and Nanaimo Buccaneers opponent Noah Kelly get tangled up on a faceoff and Generals player Koby Adams-Loitz goes for the loose puck during Thursday’s VIJHL game at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo and Oceanside meet in junior B playoff series

Buccaneers and Generals play Game 1 on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at Nanaimo Ice Centre

A mid-Island rivalry in junior B hockey is about to become more intense than ever.

The Nanaimo Buccaneers will meet the Oceanside Generals in a playoff series for the first time ever starting this Tuesday, Feb. 20.

The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League changed its playoff format this year and the No. 2-seeded Buccaneers will face the No. 7-seeded Generals in a best-of-seven first-round series.

It’s kind of a continuation of the regular season, as the teams played Thursday in Nanaimo and Saturday in Parksville with the Bucs winning both games by scores of 4-3 and 5-2.

Dylan Hartl, Buccaneers defenceman, said no matter the opponent, the Bucs try to play their own game, but they know the Gens will be competitive.

“You’ve got to expect everything out of them,” Hartl said. “We know they’re going to come hard, they’ve come hard every game. So we’ve just got to keep going.”

Nolan Richardson, Nanaimo assistant coach, said the Bucs are well-suited to battling through the tight games that typically happen come playoff time.

“We have four lines that can play at any point in the game and that’s something not a lot of teams in this league have,” he said. “Being able to put any line on the ice in any situation and just the depth helps us in all situations.”

He said the mood in the room has changed to a post-season mindset.

“All the 20-year-olds, they’re really leading the younger guys … that don’t quite have the experience into the playoffs,” Richardson said.

He said it does take an extra level at this time of year.

“That’s one of the big things is just that big shift,” Richardson said. “It’s different hockey. You’ll see the shift in the speed of the game.”

Hartl said he thinks every Buccaneers player will be going when that puck drops on playoffs.

“It’s a great group and we’re all pumped and ready to go,” he said.

He scored the overtime game-winning goal in the Bucs’ final home game of the regular season Thursday. Luc Wilson, Noah Kelly and Brandon Armstrong were other scorers and Blake Wood made 23 saves for the win.

In the regular-season finale Saturday, Billy Walters scored twice and Cam Nickerson, Booker Chacalias and Wilson also tallied. Wood made 24 saves.

Nanaimo (37-9-0-2) finished the 2017-18 regular season with the most wins in the VIJHL. Jayden Schubert won the team scoring title with 50 points and he and Wilson had the most goals on the Bucs with 22 apiece. Derek Krall won the Bruce Naylor Award as the VIJHL’s Top Goaltender and Curtis Toneff won the Ed Kingston Award as Coach of the Year.

GAME ON … The Buccaneers and Generals play Game 1 on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Game 2 is Thursday, Feb. 22, also at 7:15 p.m. at the NIC.



sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo projects cited for excellence in building awards

Several projects score with judges in 2017 VIREB Commercial Building Awards.

School district considers new position, drug concerns raised

Assistant superintendent confirms spike in use of a Xanax-like drug in schools earlier this year

UPDATED: Nanaimo man dies after highway crash in Nanoose Bay Friday afternoon

Accident happened just before 4 p.m. near Hillview Road.

Nanaimo’s elementary schools graded by Fraser Institute

Annual Report Card on British Columbia’s Elementary Schools released Saturday, April 21

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tax increase comes from unnecessary expenditures

Does city council think the tax payers have a limitless supply of money, asks letter writer

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

United wins in OT, advances in provincial cup play

Nanaimo beats Lakehill 2-1, next up is a matchup against Cowichan

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Local astronomer to share knowledge about planetary nebulae

Local astronomer explains our sun will one day eject its outer layers to form a planetary nebula

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

Most Read