Glacier Kings head into VIJHL playoffs on winning note

Earle Couper

Record Staff

Comox Valley Glacier Kings' coach Jim MacLean told his players the key to beating the Saanich Braves was to stay out of the penalty box.

The players listened.

Friday night in Saanich, the Glacier Kings connected on five of 10 power-play opportunities and added a shorthanded goal for good measure in a 9-2 beat down of the Braves.

The Yetis' win, in their final Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League regular season game, snapped a three-game losing streak and set the stage for their first-round playoff match-up with Saanich.

That best-of-five series got underway last night when the Icemen (third place overall) hosted the Braves (sixth place), with result unavailable at press time. Game two goes tonight in Saanich with game three Saturday in Courtenay (7:40 p.m. Sports Centre Arena No. 1).

Last Friday at George Pearkes Arena, the Glacier Kings led 2-0 after one period and 6-2 after two en route to their convincing win. Newcomer Ryan Bradley posted a pair of power-play points (one goal, one assist) while Mitch Ball, Brian Rideout, Michael Graham and James Bryant added power-play goals. Kelin Hrycuik contributed the shorthanded marker. Hrycuik, Graham and Garrett Brandsma added even-strength goals. Jackson Garrett and Jack Kennelly both chipped in with a pair of assists.

Cameron Waddington picked up the win in goal, stopping 35 shots, while Tanner McGaw made 33 saves in taking the loss.

Connor Stephens and Dylan Gilbert scored for the Braves, who were without coach Ryan Gomez, captain Ryan Smith and d-man Hayden Long due to suspensions. Saanich, the second-most penalized team in the league this year, also had four players returning from one-game suspensions.

The Glacier Kings won five of six meetings with the Braves this season, outscoring them 26-17. Two games were decided by shootout while Saanich surprised the Glacier Kings with a 6-2 win on Feb. 11 in Courtenay.

If they are necessary, game four in the series would be played Feb. 27 in Saanich and game five March 1 in Courtenay.

The Victoria Cougars won the regular season championship and have a first-round bye in the playoffs. They will receive a cash bonus from the league in lieu of hosting a first-round series.

Other best-of-five opening round match-ups include second-place Peninsula Panthers taking on seventh-place Campbell River Storm and third-place Kerry Park Islanders against fourth-place Oceanside Generals.

ICE CHIPS ... the Generals were the most penalized team this season while the Glacier Kings were the least penalized team ... all the latest Island Jr. B buzz at ...

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