The Nanaimo Buccaneers used the last week of the season to set themselves up for playoffs.
The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League club won its last two games of the regular season, 5-1 versus the Comox Valley Glacier Kings and 5-0 versus the Peninsula Panthers, to secure third place overall.
The Bucs will face the Westshore Wolves in the playoffs, which start tonight, Feb. 26, in Nanaimo. It will be the first time that the 2012-13 expansion cousins have met in a post-season series.
Nanaimo finished the 2018-19 VIJHL regular season with a 26-18 record, good for second place in the North Division.
Team captain Billy Walters ends 2018-19 as the Buccaneers’ leading scorer with 57 points in 47 games and Darian Harris is top goal scorer for the Bucs with 24 goals in 31 games. Trey Watson led the team in penalty minutes with 257, just shy of Patrick Poets’s team record of 260 PIM, set in 2015-16.
Among goalies, Austin Dendl led the Buccaneers with 12 wins and Blake Wood led Bucs goalies with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
GAME ON … The Bucs and Wolves play Game 1 of the VIJHL playoffs tonight, Feb. 26, at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Game 2 is Thursday, also a 7:15 p.m. start at the NIC.