Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
Victoria, BC – Ty Jones picked up right where he left off last year, scoring a pair of goals, including the overtime winner, and adding and assist, as the Saanich Braves overcame a 2-0 deficit and topped the Westshore Wolves 3-2 in VIJHL exhibition action Wednesday night at Bear Mountain Arena.
In a game where one might expect the young prospects on each side to give it all they’ve got to show coaches that they deserve a spot on their respective teams, the complete opposite seemed to happen and both sides played a very slow, tentative and uninspired first period that ended 0-0 as starting goaltenders Matt Chester (Wolves) and Tanner McGaw (Braves) were never really challenged.
The Wolves would pick things up early in the second period and courtesy of a 2-man power-play would strike first, when Kyle Richter buried a shot past McGaw from the side of the net to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead.
Westshore’s Kyle Richter would score the Wolves first goal and assist on the second in the 3-2 loss to Saanich Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
That seemed to spark the Braves as they would pick their game up after that and create a number of good scoring chances, all of which were thwarted some dandy saves by Chester, who looks to be solidifying his role as the Wolves #1 goalie to start the season.
The Wolves then rewarded Chester with 9:12 remaining in the period as Max Mois would bury one past McGaw to give the Wolves a 2-0 lead.
The Wolves Matt Chester would be well focused on the #1 job Wednesday, stopping 43 of 46 shots in a losing effort (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Braves would get that back with just over 4 minutes remaining in the period, as Jones would win a faceoff in the Wolves end and feed a nice pass to rookie standout Nick Guerra who was left open at the side of the net for the easy tap in and the Braves had cut the lead in half.
Saanich rookie Nick Guerra (right) would have another fine pre-season outing with a goal and an assist in the 3-2 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
That score would hold through the first half of the third period and then some, until Ty Jones would finish some hard work by Andrew White and Guerra to slip the equalizer past Chester with 8:47 remaining.
Both teams would have chances to score late in the game, notably Saanich’s White on a breakaway and the Wolves who rang one off the crossbar in the last minute, but the game remained tied 2-2 and headed into the OT period.
Saanich’s Andrew White would miss this breakaway opportunity late in the game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
In the OT both teams had early chances, but with just over 1:30 remaining a clearing pass out of the Braves end by Graham Cronk just eluded a Wolves defender and found a streaking Jones, who moved in all alone, deking Chester with a nice move and giving the Braves the OT win.
For the Braves, Tanner McGaw was seeing his first action of the season after missing the tournament in Kerry Park last weekend with a minor injury. He faced 26 shots in getting the win. Chester faced 46 shots in total and made a number of highlight reel saves in the second period.
Saanich’s Ty Jones would bury this OT winner, his second of the night, to give the Braves the 3-2 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
These teams will face each other again on Friday night in a special game at Save On Foods Arena at 7:00 pm. Admission is by donation with all proceeds going to support the cure for Baby Hannah!