Every hockey coach’s short list of clichés includes the one about a team’s need to play the full 60 minutes of a game.
The Nanaimo Buccaneers illustrated its accuracy Saturday at Oceanside Place Arena by scoring four goals in a four-minute stretch that proved the difference in a 5-3 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League win over the Quality Foods Oceanside Generals.
“We didn’t play a good game, in hindsight,” head coach Gerry Bickerton said after the Generals fell to 11-29-1-1. “We didn’t play well for 60 minutes, but we played terribly for four minutes, and it cost us. We’ve got to realize that even when we’re not playing our best game, we could have won that game there.”
The Generals have two home games remaining, this Saturday against Saanich and Feb. 18 in the regular-season finale against Kerry Park, both at 7:30 p.m. They will then face the Peninsula Panthers in a one-game playoff, tentatively scheduled to be played Monday, Feb. 20, for the final VIJHL playoff berth.
The Gens are currently five points ahead of Peninsula (8-33-0-3) with two games in hand over the Panthers.
“As it stands right now, we would host that game,” said Bickerton. “The hope is that we host that one-game playoff and have our home fans behind us and not have to make that long road trip.”
Oceanside’s Brandon Roberge, left, goes through the skate of Nanaimo’s Jacob Carr to get at the puck during the teams’ VIJHL game at Oceanside Place Saturday. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS
Saturday, Before a crowd of 125 at Howie Meeker Arena, the Gens rode Foster Martin’s first-period goal and 13 saves by goaltender Tanner Douglas to a 1-0 lead after one period.
But the Buccaneers (27-15-0-1) got goals from Clayton Peace, Chad Bell and Jayden Schubert on their first three shots of the second period and suddenly found themselves in front 3-1 just 1:55 in.
Nanaimo made it 4-1 at 4:10 of the second. Bell lifted his own rebound over Wes Ellingsen, who replaced Douglas following the third Bucs goal, with just two seconds remaining on a Nanaimo power play.
The Gens managed to kill a 5-on-3 penalty that spanned 1:20 but had five of their seven penalty kills in the period as the visitors pushed their shots on goal advantage to 32-12 at the second intermission.
Blake Griffin drew the Generals to 4-2 early in the third with a goal assisted by Ryan Rae-Arthur, and the team managed to level the ice for the better part of the period.
But Nolan Richardson padded the Nanaimo lead on another power-play goal at 12:14, on a one-timer from the right circle off a feed from Bell.
Moments later, Savard found the puck behind Bucs goalie Cedric LeSieur for a rebound goal after Max Creighton’s shot rang off the post and stopped behind the netminder.
Nanaimo finished with a 46-20 edge in shots on net. Ellingsen made 28 saves on 30 shots, with both goals allowed on power plays as the Buccaneers went 2-for-7 with the man advantage.
Oceanside was 0-for-3 on the power play.