Nanaimo Buccaneers player Lucas Patton moves the puck away from his team’s crease during the dying moments of Thursday’s win over the Victoria Cougars at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Unbeatable Bucs extend streak to 12

Nanaimo Buccaneers beat Victoria Cougars 3-2 in junior B hockey action at the NIC

The Nanaimo Buccaneers have now beaten every team in the league during their win streak.

The Bucs won their 12th in row Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre, edging the Victoria Cougars 3-2.

The game’s first star was Billy Walters, who was making his season debut after returning to the team this week. Walters scored two goals and assisted on the winning goal.

“I totally didn’t think I was going to make this much of an impact. I definitely felt tired out there and I definitely think I got some bounces going my way,” he said.

Bucs coach Curtis Toneff said his team had a few other areas of strength including goaltending and penalty killing.

“I thought it was our greasiest win of the season and you’ve got to play in those games,” the coach said. “We’re not going to blow teams out – like we have been – all season. All these teams are going to get better.”

Toneff said the coaching staff asks players to do some things a little bit differently in close contests like Thursday’s game.

“[We try to] keep things more simple and focus on putting pucks to safer areas and keeping the play to the outside and be tougher to play against,” he said.

Walters’s goals came in the first period as the Bucs took a 2-1 lead. The Cougs tied things up midway through the third period but Booker Chacalias scored the winning goal shorthanded soon after. Shots ended up 31-29 for the visitors with goalie Derek Krall earning the win.

As for the new addition to the Buccaneers, up until Thursday night Walters hadn’t stepped on an ice surface since the Bucs were eliminated from the playoffs last winter. He’d hung up his skates to work.

“Honestly, I missed the boys more than anything and I missed the game, too,” he said. “I love the Bucs, I love the staff here, too. It’s just a good environment.”

Joining a team with this kind of potential is exciting, Walters said.

“This year it’s championship or nothing, you know what I mean? We’re going for it, 100 per cent.”

GAME ON … The Buccaneers visit the Oceanside Generals on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. at Oceanside Place. Next home action is Thursday, Nov. 2 when the Campbell River Storm visit the NIC for a 7:15 p.m. faceoff.

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