New-look Nanaimo Buccaneers win

The Nanaimo Buccaneers prevailed 6-5 over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings in a back-and-forth game Thursday.

Nanaimo Buccaneers player Zach Funk

Nanaimo Buccaneers player Zach Funk

The new-look Nanaimo Buccaneers earned the sort of win that can bring a group of players together.

The Bucs prevailed 6-5 over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings in a back-and-forth game Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. The Buccaneers led 4-2 going into the third, fell behind 5-4, but turned things back in their favour before the final buzzer.

“We’ve come back a bunch this year. We’ve got a good, character group,” said Derek Bachynski, the team’s coach. “We just competed hard and never gave up. The game’s not over until it’s over, so we just competed until the end and ended up getting a victory.”

Nolan Richardson sniped the game-winning goal with two minutes left in the third period. Jordan Levesque had a huge game, banging away and willing the puck in on the tying goal to complete a hat trick and a five-point night. Zach Funk and Carter Turnbull each had a goal and three assists, Joe Gage had two assists and Liam Young was the winning goalie with 20 saves.

The major storyline going into the game was Nanaimo’s revamped roster after a flurry of transactions this week. The newcomers Funk, Gage, Jonah Pearson and Quinlan Moore all showed well, said the coach.

“I wanted that win so much for the guys, the new faces coming in,” Bachynski said. “Winning and having fun winning moulds a team together and it’s very important that we got that win tonight.”

Funk made an immediate impact with a first-period power-play goal and got a ton of ice time in his debut.

“My line was clicking pretty good. It was good to get some chemistry in the first game like that,” he said.

Funk said it was awesome to play in his hometown, score a goal and get a win with the Bucs. It’s always a big change to suit up for a new team, he added.

“Every team’s different,” Funk said. “But the guys have been really welcoming, the coaches have been good and it’s all been positive.”

ICE CHIPS … Forward Nick Gomerich, who had been slated to join the Buccaneers, will instead sign with an Ontario team … The Bucs play the Oceanside Generals on Saturday (Dec. 6) at 7:30 p.m. at Parksville’s Oceanside Place.