With Files by Mike Beelby, Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Saanich Braves and Westshore Wolves are showing early signs of developing a fierce VIJHL rivalry this season, as for the second time in 3 nights, the Braves needed extra time to defeat the Wolves 3-2, this time in a shoot-out at Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena in Victoria.
The exhibition game had a deeper meaning, as it was also being used as a fundraiser for Cops for Cancer and for Baby Hannah, with all admission proceeds being put towards these causes. Victoria police officer Kevin Nunn was on hand to address the audience and to drop the ceremonial first puck. Nunn will also be doing his part to raise funds next week as he will be pulling a car around Ring Road at the University of Victoria in a special fundraising event.
Kevin Nunn addresses the crowd prior to last nights Braves and Wolves exhibition game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Kevin Nunn (centre) drops the puck for Ty Jones (left) and Josh Bloomenthal (right) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
As to the game, the first period was a penalty filled affair and featured great penalty killing by both teams, as neither team could capitalize on the powerplay. The Wolves killed off three penalties, but went scoreless on four attempts. Tanner McGaw was outstanding all night long but especially in the first period, turning away all 11 Wolves shots. Rookie Alec Dillon also stopped all Braves chances, with 9 saves.
Saanich’s Sam Johnston drive in off the wing during first period action Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The second period didn’t feature much scoring either, but the one goal that was scored was a beauty as first year Brave Kevin Massy received a crisp Andrew White pass, walked in to the top of the circle and wired a slapshot under the bar. Captain Ty Jones was also in on the play. Alec Dillon left the game half way through to split it with goalie Matt Chester who stood on his head Wednesday night against the Braves.
Saanich’s Liam Sproule breaks in for a shot on net during the first period Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Saanich’s Kevin Massy would open the scoring early in the second period when he blasted a slapshot into the top corner on Westshore’s Alec Dillon (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The teams turned up the excitement in the third and the pace of the game picked up as the period moved along. The Braves added to their lead with another beautiful pass by defencemen Brandon Parmar who slid it neatly up the ice to an open Jones who scored on an amazing move on the backhand. Former defencemen of the year Liam Sproule added an assist on the play too.
Six minutes later and within the blink of an eye, the game was tied, as at 9:36 Brett Lervold took a pass in the slot from former Panther Kayle Ramsay and wristed it past a screened McGaw. The Wolves second goal was somewhat similar to the first, as with 6:39 remaining in the third, Spencer Preece scored on a rebound off of a shot by Lervold.
Saanich’s Sam Johnston looks for a tip in front of Westshore Goalie Alec Dillon (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
That was all for scoring in regulation, with shots at the end of sixty minutes at 28-27 in favour of Westshore. The game went to overtime, and with over two minutes left in the 5 minute sudden death period, the Braves were called for too many men on the ice. The Braves killed the penalty well, but needed their best penalty killer, Tanner McGaw, to make a couple great saves during the PK. No goals occurred, and the shots were 31-29 Wolves after the OT.
Saanich backup goaltender Bowman Rutledge gets a talking to after being a bit too vocal on the bench Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
In the shoot-out, the Wolves scored on their first attempt, but that was all that McGaw would give up as he denied the next two shooters. Meanwhile for the Braves, rookie Nick Guerra who scored 5 goals in 5 games during exhibition play was robbed by Matt Chester with the glove, then defencemen Garrett Kemmler scored on a backhand that just trickled in, and Ty Jones scored the winner through the 5-hole on Chester, making it look easy.
That’s all for exhibition play for the Braves, and they finished with a very respectable 3-1-1 record. Their next game is the Braves first game at Pearkes Arena this season, which will happen a week from today as they host the Kerry Park Islanders. (Friday the 7th.) Puck drops at 6:30pm.
Saanich’s Nick Guerra breaks in over the blue line during Friday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)