The first-place Nanaimo Buccaneers can win games even when they’re a man down.
The Bucs scored two short-handed goals to come back and beat the Campbell River Storm on Thursday night in VIJHL action at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
Mathieu Jallabert scored the game-winning goal with 40 seconds left in the first overtime frame, locating a puck in his skates at the side of the net and roofing it.
Nanaimo had trailed 1-0 for 58 minutes of the game before Dylan Hartl scored a tying goal on a two-on-one rush.
“I think we just kept sticking to it and we knew eventually it was going to come,” said Jallabert.
On his game winner, he started the play and then went to the net.
“I was kind of surprised the pass came through, it almost caught me off-guard,” he said. “It was in my feet for a second, maybe it might have given me the upper hand because the goalie kind of scrambled to try and get back in the play and that’s when I got the shot off.”
Curtis Toneff, Buccaneers coach, said his team’s best players led the way but said it was a full team effort. He said sometimes the Storm outshoot the Bucs when the rivals meet, but that wasn’t the case Thursday as the Bucs had 38 shots to the Storm’s 27.
“Tonight we were on the good end of that and I think we carried the pace of the play for the most part,” Toneff said. “There were spurts where we were in possession for two, three, four minutes at a time.”
The coach called the win “a good step forward for our team” and Jallabert said winning the game that way was definitely a good feeling.
“Especially against these guys, when it’s such a close race for first right now,” he said.
Derek Krall was the winning goalie. Campbell River’s goal was scored by Dylan McCann.
GAME ON … The Buccaneers host the Peninsula Panthers on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the NIC.