Junior Braves Knock Off Nanaimo 5-3

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Saanich Braves full color logo

By ISN Junior Reporter Mike Beelby

September 28, 2012, Nanaimo, BC (ISN) – The Saanich Braves completed a successful 2 game road trip as they knocked off the Nanaimo Buccaneers 5-3 Thursday night at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

After a 3-2 comeback victory Wednesday night against the Westshore Wolves, the Braves faced a similar situation Thursday night against the Nanaimo Buccaneers as they trailed 3-2 after twenty.

But comeback again they would for a 5-3 win that was highlighted by a bone crushing hipcheck by 20-year old Andrew White, a goal by rookie Nick Guerra, and game saving saves by Tanner McGaw who came in to replace starting goaltender Bowman Rutledge.

The Buccaneers grabbed an early lead as Garrett Dunlop fed an open Lucas Franssen who buried it top corner above the shoulder of Rutledge. Buc’s assistant captain Jordan Levesque with an assist as well.

The Braves took the lead within a six-and-a-half minute time span as first, Liam Sproule made a point pass to Shawn McBride who one touched it over to Josh Gray who made no mistake shooting it behind a sprawled out Riley Medves. Then taking the lead it was Sam McMullen who won the draw straight back to Jordan Groenheyde who quickly put it to the net and beat a screened Medves.

Then came back to back goals by the home team, first Lynden Eddy scored on a rebound goal at the side of the net, assissts to Travis Briggs and Corey Renwick.  Franssen then scored his second of the night on a tap-in, as it was a tic-tac-toe play with Levesque, to Dunlop to Franssen who redirected it to ripple the mesh.

Twenty minutes in, 3-2 Buc’s, and this was the end of the night for Rutledge who allowed 3 goals on 11 shots.

Just a lone goal in the second period, and it came from 16-year old Nick Guerra who scored his first Junior league goal as McMullen fed a not-so-open Guerra who managed to snipe it top corner.  Garett Kemmler with the second assist on the play.

Tanner McGaw stopped his 8 shots in the middle period, and across the ice, Medves stopped 3 of 4, and 13 out of 16 in total.

The Braves were outplayed in the third getting outshot 15-7, but McGaw stood on his head and really helped out the team in the final minutes. But to backtrack a bit, halfway through the final frame, Guerra stretched a pass up to McMullen who, on a two-on-one, faked a pass to his winger, then went to the backhand and somehow snuck it by Medves for the game winner at 10:06.

With the Buccaneers adding pressure, they pulled their goalie, but Ty Jones chipped it out of the zone where Shawn McBride passed it over to Josh Gray who slid it into the empty net for the win.

Coach Brad Cook said after the game, “An outstanding, gutsy road win, and the boys deserved the big win.”

Three Stars as reported on the VIJHL web site were:

1. Tanner McGaw, Saanich

2. Sam McMullen, Saanich

3. Lucas Franssen, Nanaimo

but in my opinion should have been

1st Star – Nick Guerra (goal and assist)

2nd Star – Tanner McGaw (23 saves)

3rd Star – Sam McMullen (goal and 2 assists)

Braves are back at it Friday night as they host the Kerry Park Islanders, looking for three wins in the last 50 hours.  Puck drops at 6:30pm.

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