NANAIMO — It was a difficult week for the Buccaneers, who faltered in back-to-back games for just the second time this season.
Nanaimo will look to rebound after losing to a hungry Glacier Kings team and a setback the next night to an always tough Braves in their home barn.
Braves chop Bucs
The Buccaneers lost 4-3 in Saanich to the Braves in the unfriendly confines of George Pearkes Recreation Centre Friday (Nov. 23).
It was the second night in a row that the Bucs chased the game after spotting their opponents a multi-goal lead.
The good news was affiliate player Nolan Wall scored in his second game as a Buccaneer, with help from Riley Gannon.
The Braves took over the game after Wall’s early goal, with 4 unanswered tallies. Kyle Mace tied it at one on an unassisted effort. James Vince (later named the games’ first star for Saanich) scored the first of his pair of goals 26 seconds later. Jakob McQuillin and Graeme Getty assisted, with Gavin Grewal earning a point on Vince’s second goal 2 minutes into the 2nd period.
Nanaimo cut the lead in half at 17:53 of the second period, Billy Walters cashing in on their first power-play goal in recent memory. Like Vince, Walters finished with two goals, and was also named the Away star. Walters got the Bucs as close as they would get, 4-3, on a feed from Lucas Patton. Braves goaltender Chris Combiadakis shut the door over the final 6-and-a-half minutes.
Nanaimo netminder Keenan Rancier was quite busy, stopping 50 of 54 shots. Half of the goals he conceded were first period Braves' power-play tallies.
Late in the third period, Nanaimo forward Tyson McLean suffered a knee injury him during a scrum.
The sparkplug fore-checker has 6 goals and 8 assists through 22 games, and his departure could easily be upwards of 2 months.
This comes at a time when leading scorer Josh Zary has been getting called up to play with the Cowichan Valley Capitals. There is word Darrian Harris may return to the lineup soon. In 15 games, Harris has compiled 16 goals and 20 points.
Glacier Kings freeze Bucs
On Thursday (Nov. 22) It was a night of several firsts for the Comox Valley Glacier Kings in their 4-2 triumph over the host Nanaimo Buccaneers. The visitors registered their first short-handed goal, first 2-goal lead, and winning a game when scoring the first goal. The battle wasn’t without casualties, though.
Comox Valley would lose their best defenseman, Dayton Keith, early in the game. He was injured colliding at the Buccaneers blueline with Trey Watson.
Watson received a minor for kneeing, but it wasn’t until an early 2nd period power play when the Icemen broke the scoreless tie with the man advantage. Skilled forward Finn Withey popped home his 13th on a tic-tac-toe feed with Rick Takeda.
Damian Rennie stunned the Pirate Ship not once, but twice with nearly the exact same play. He forced a turnover at the Comox Valley blueline, and broke away for a tete a tete with Austin Dendl. He scored on both breakaways, but the first one was while his team was short-handed. Both goals were unassisted, and suddenly the G-Kings were up 3-0. His move to the backhand made it nearly impossible for Dendl to react in time as he sprawled.
Nanaimo made a game of it in the third period, with Dawson Benjamin Wollf finally beating Glacier Kings goaltender Joben Douse. Wollf pinched in on the left point and fired a rising wrister that beat Douse on the glove side. Wollf was later named the Buccaneers first star of the game, after some solid defensive work in his own end. Trey Watson thickened the plot, snapping home a Billy Walters pass with 7 minutes remaining. That was as close as the Swordsmen got, as Comox Valley sealed the game with an empty-netter.
Despite the recent adversity the Bucs remain solidly entrenched in second place in the VIJHL North Division with a record of 14-8-1-0
The Bucs will be on the road this Thursday (Nov. 29) evening challenging the Victoria Cougars at the Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt.
Nanaimo's next home game is Thursday, Dec. 6 versus the Glacier Kings.
— Larenzo Jensen is the play-by-play voice of the Nanaimo Buccaneers.
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