The Nanaimo Buccaneers know they can raise their game another level for playoffs.
The city’s junior B hockey club starts the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League post-season this Tuesday (Feb. 17) against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
The Bucs don’t bring as much momentum into playoffs as they’d hoped to bring, as they were shut out 4-0 by the Glacier Kings on Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre before closing out the schedule with a 5-3 road win against the Oceanside Generals.
Thursday’s loss to the Yetis determined home-ice advantage in the first round, so coaches weren’t happy with the game.
“Individual efforts weren’t as strong as we wanted,” said Heath Dennison, Bucs assistant coach. “Our key guys weren’t that strong tonight. Our top line wasn’t our top line.”
Jared Fedosoff, Bucs captain, said the team wanted home-ice advantage, but will take a lesson from the loss.
“We know what Comox can do if we come out flat,” he said.
When the Bucs are on their game, they think they can match up with the Glacier Kings. The teams finished 2014-15 tied for points and most of the games during the season series were decided by one goal.
“If we play well in their zone as far as keeping them hemmed in and not letting them come out as easily, I think we will be very successful,” Dennison said. “We can score like they can.”
He said the Buccaneers players have to want to work hard and want to have success. Fedosoff said the Bucs can’t leave anything out on the ice.
“Playoffs is completely different,” he said. “Every time you’re out there, you’ve got to lay the body on the line [and] really stay mentally focused. You can’t go out there every shift and just kind of float. You’ve got to go out there with a purpose.”
GAME ON … The best-of-seven series will alternate venues. Tuesday’s Game 1 is a 7 p.m. faceoff at the Comox Valley Sports Centre and Thursday’s Game 2 will be at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.