NANAIMO — A late Christmas gift had early returns for the Nanaimo Buccaneers (27-6-0-1) in downing the visiting Oceanside Generals 3-0 at the Pirate Ship Thursday night.
Newly acquired winger Trent Bell scored, while Brandon Roberge tallied the other two goals for the Bucs, who're riding a seven-game winning streak.
Bell, a 20-year-old Nanoose Bay product, was recently released by the BCHL's Powell River Kings and quickly snapped up by the Bucs.
Bell had been one of the VIJHL's top two-way forwards while wearing black and yellow Bucs silks during the previous three seasons.
“He just brings that element of tenacity, he does not give up, he doesn't take a stride off let alone a shift off,” Bucs head coach Curtis Toneff said of Bell. “I think our guys should really watch him and the way he plays the game.”
16-year-old goaltender Blake Wood collected his first junior shutout, making 32 saves, including several key third period stops.
“Blake Wood was awesome, that's good to see for us. We didn't give them too much offensively. Any time you shut out a team first game back from Christmas break I think you'll take it,” Toneff said.
The Bell acquisition is a monster pick-up for a Buccaneers team already deep and well-balanced up front. Bell has collected 130 points in 134 career regular season VIJHL appearances.
He had 10 points in 31 outings in Powell River as an overage rookie in the season's first half.
Bell displayed soft hands to give the Bucs a 2-0 second period lead. He took a slick Dylan Hartl feed and then backhanded the puck in tight behind Generals (13-17-1-3) goaltender Jacob Sweet. Roberge scored in the first period and also notched a late empty-netter.
Bell said he looks forward to reinforcing an already strong Buccaneers squad.
“It's just bring some leadership, some energy, some speed, play hard every night and bring some extra scoring to the lineup,” Bell said.
Up next for Nanaimo is a tilt in Campbell River Friday night when the league's top two teams lock horns.
The Bucs have a five point lead on Campbell River, but have played two more games.
The next home game for the Swordsmen is Thursday, Jan. 11 versus the Kerry Park Islanders at 7:15 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
Bucs sniper Mathieu Jallabert has one more game to serve on a six game suspension.
- with files from Tom Laird
On Twitter: @reporterholmes
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