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Glacier Kings take top spot in VIJHL North Division
When you're hot, you're hot. When you're not, you're not.
That's the setting for Tuesday nights Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoff tilt when the Comox Valley Glacier Kings host the Saanich Braves in a 7 p.m. start at Sports Centre Arena #1.
The Glacier Kings, who clinched the North Division title with a dramatic overtime win on the final day of the regular season, are riding a six-game winning streak while the Braves are limping into post-season play having lost their last 13.
Game two in the best-of-seven series is in Saanich (date TBA) with game three back in Courtenay on Feb. 22.
The Icemen waged a titanic battle with the Campbell River Storm for top spot in the North. They had a one-point lead heading into the final day of regular season play on Feb. 15.
The Storm defeated the Oceanside Generals 4-2, meaning it was a must-win for the Yetis when they hosted the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Saturday night.
The Bucs, already assured of a third-place finish in the North, led 3-1 after two periods. But the G-Kings rallied to tie the game by the midway point of the third, and Derian Hamilton netted the game winner at 4:59 of the first five-minute OT period to give his team the game win and division title.
Goalie Michael Hails was the first star as Nanaimo out-shot the Comox Valley 40-30, including 5-2 in OT. The Bucs led 1-0 after one on second star Garrett Brandsma's power-play goal.
Austin McNeil pulled the Yetis even at 15:32 of the second, only to have the visitors grab a 3-1 lead courtesy of Jordan Levesque at 16:34 and Brandsma at 18:24.
Despite being out-shot 14-9 in the third period, the G-Kings got goals from Wil Finlay at 3:44 and Duncan Pernal at 11:19 to force extra time, where Hamilton emerged the hero.
The win completed a sweep of the Yetis' home-and-home series with the Bucs as the Icemen skated to a 4-1 win Thursday night in Nanaimo. Pernal, Landon Walters, Liam Shaw and Ali Gotmy scored for the Yetis, who were out-shot 27-23. Hails picked up the win.
ICE CHIPS The Glacier Kings (N1) play the Braves (S5) as Saanich finished with more points than the Oceanside Generals (N4) … the other best-of-seven first-round playoff match-ups have Campbell River (N2) taking on Nanaimo (N3), Victoria Cougars (S1) against Kerry Park Islanders (S4) and Peninsula Panthers (S2) meeting Westshore Wolves (S4) … Pernal finished tied for sixth in league scoring with 60 points (29g, 331a) …Hails tied for second in wins (19) and posted the league's top save percentage of .931 …