The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s second season begins Tuesday (Feb. 23) night for the Comox Valley Glacier Kings as they visit the Nanaimo Buccaneers for the first game in their best-of-seven first-round series.
The G-Kings finished third in the North Division, seven points back of the second-place Bucs, but Comox Valley goes into the playoffs riding a two-game win streak while Nanaimo lost their last four regular season games.
The Yetis closed out their regular season Feb. 20 in Courtenay with a 5-3 over the Saanich Braves. Third-period goals by Jake McKenzie and Sheldon Brett proved the difference as the visitors erased a 1-0 first-period deficit by out-scoring the Icemen 3-2 in the second stanza.
Comox Valley goalie Braddock Otton first star honours as the Braves out-shot the Glacier Kings 40-21. Brett (1g, 1a) was second star and Saanich’s Brandon Fushimi (1g, 1a) was third star.
Ty Madden’s fourth of the year on the power play from Ronnie Wilkie and Curtis Csuk was the only scoring in the first. McInnes made it 2-0 at 7:44 of the second from Brayden McCartney and Nick Novin only to have the Braves pull even on goals by Brendan Werstine at 7:59 and Fushimi at 10:04.
McInnes’ second of the game and team-best 23rd of the year from Liam Nijhoff and Curtis Card put the home team back in front, with Saanich equalizing on Dale McCabe’s power-play marker at 17:32.
Despite mustering just four shots in the third the Yetis made them count as McKenzie’s 14th of the year from Brett and Tyson Slater at 17:54 made it 4-3 and Brett’s ninth of the year from Madden and Novin at 18:51 into the empty net sealed the deal.
The post-season scene is now set. The Saanich Braves (S5) defeated the Oceanside Generals (N4) 3-2 Sunday in a wild card play-in game and will face the Campbell River Storm (N1). The other best-of-seven first-round series see Victoria Cougars (S1) take on Kerry Park Islanders (S4) and Westshore Wolves(S3) up against the Peninsula Panthers (S2).
ICE CHIPS Comox Valley and Nanaimo both had two scorers in the league top 10: the Bucs’ Jordan Levesque 6th (61 points) and Trent Bell 8th (52 points) and the Yetis’ McInnes 7th (53 points) and McReynolds 9th (50 points) … Nanaimo’s Liam Young and Alex Orth finished 5th and 6th in goalie stats … the Yetis won six of 10 RS meetings with the Bucs, including four in Nanaimo … Game 2 goes Feb. 25 in Nanaimo … other games are Feb. 27 in Courtenay and March 1 in Courtenay, and if needed, March 3 in Nanaimo, March 5 in Courtenay and March 6 in Nanaimo …