What they were doing didn’t seem to be working, so the Nanaimo Buccaneers made changes.
The Bucs are entering the stretch run of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season intent on trying to return to their winning ways from the fall. The junior B team switched things up a bit this month, bringing in a new goalie, Jackson Jane, and naming a new captain, Lee Orpen.
Last week the Bucs shut out Bill Bestwick’s Oceanside Generals 4-0 on Thursday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre and then lost 4-1 to the Victoria Cougars on Saturday at Frank Crane Arena. The victory, though it came against the last-placed Gens, was an encouraging sign, players said.
“Any step we can take forward is really good for us,” said Orpen.
Jane, who made 23 saves, said it was good to get his first shutout of the season and his first win with his new team.
“The D did well and they kept everything to the outside,” he said. “It was just a matter of me controlling the rebounds and that seemed to work out well.”
The goalie said the team can turn things around if it has a positive frame of mind.
“We’ve got the players and the coaches and everything to make a good run here down the stretch,” he said. “The biggest thing is just attitude – coming to the rink and expecting nothing less than to win the game.”
Orpen said receiving the ‘C’ was a matter of the Bucs being in a rut and needing to change something.
“[Noah] Russi was doing a good job, he’s always battling out there for us,” Orpen said. “But sometimes you pull the goalie. Sometimes you do whatever you’ve got to do to hopefully spark the team.”
He said there isn’t any added pressure to score big goals now that he’s captain.
“I’m a grinder,” he said. “If I can go out there and show that’s my role and take pride in it, I think guys will really follow and take pride in being a hard worker and smart player.”
The Bucs can turn things around if they find their confidence, Orpen said.
“We’ve just got to start having fun again and really want to be at the rink and we’ll start doing those extra little things to win those games,” he said.
ICE CHIPS … Jordan Levesque, Garrett Dunlop, Johnathan Speer and Chad Bell scored in the win over Oceanside and Garrett Brandsma scored in the next day’s loss to Victoria. On Sunday, some Bucs players were winners at the VIJHL All-Star Game as the North Division beat the South Division 7-5 in Duncan. Dunlop was player of the game as he, Levesque and Dan Foglietta scored. Ryan Waldhaus was starting goalie for the North … This week the Buccaneers play a home-and-home series against the Saanich Braves starting Thursday (Jan. 30) with a 7:15 p.m. game at the NIC.