Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
January 11, 2013, Saanich, BC (ISN) – Matt Chester stopped 34 of 35 shots to lead the Westshore Wolves to a 3-1 win over the Saanich Braves in VIJHL action Friday night at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.
The Braves, who were coming off a tough 4-2 loss to the Cougars on Thursday, never seemed to get into this game until it was too late, scoring their lone goal late in the third period when they were already down 3-0.
Saanich’s Liam Sproule attempts to provide a screen in front of the Westshore net on a Braves powerplay Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Wolves, perhaps buoyed by the acquisition of quality forward Chase Kaiser who was released yesterday by the Victoria Grizzlies, played the Braves nose to nose through the first two periods, jumping ahead 1-0 on a powerplay marker by Spencer Preece at the 13:02 mark of the second period.
Former Victoria Grizzlie Chase Kaiser joined the Wolves Friday and contributed an assist in his team debut (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
They would add to that lead with just 15 seconds remaining in the period when Clay Carson would jump on a loose puck and put it past Braves starter Tanner McGaw for the 2-0 Wolves lead.
The bad news for the Braves would continue early in the third as more penalty trouble would allow the Wolves to go on a 5-on-3 powerplay and jump up 3-0 with a powerplay goal by Chris McDonald at the 3:14 mark.
Westshore’s Tyson Young skates past the check of Saanich’s Shawn McBride during the Wolves 3-1 win Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Braves showed a spark of life late in the third period, when after a time-out, they pulled McGaw for an extra attacker with 3:20 remaining and capitalized with the extra man advantage when Sam Johnston would tip a Ty Jones shot past Chester, spoiling his shut-out.
That would be all for the Braves though and while they pulled McGaw again for the extra man, they could not score again and the Wolves preserved the 3-1 win.
Westshore’s Matt Chester was so good on Friday, stopping 34 of 35 shots, he could play net with his eyes closed, as he did on this third period blocker save against the Braves (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Trouble on the powerplay was once again an issue for the Braves in this game, as they went 0 for 7 with the man advantage and a cumulative 1 for 17 in the two games this week.
The Braves also continue to be snakebit with injuries, as just when one player returns, others are lost. Last night Jordan Groenhyde returned, while Josh Gray was back in the lineup tonight, however the Braves were then without Justin Polischuk and Garrett Kemmler against the Wolves.
Westshore’s Clay Carson would score the Wolves second and game-winning goal on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
With the win, the Wolves improve their record to 22-17-1 and sit just seven points behind the 25-9-2 Braves for second place in the South.
The Braves, who lost two in a row for just the second time this season, have struggled of late, with 5 of their 9 regulation losses coming in the last 8 games they have played.
Saanich’s Ty Jones would have an assist on the lone Braves goal on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Both teams will now break for the VIJHL All-Star Classic that takes place in Parksville on Sunday and they will resume their schedule against one another when Saanich travels to Bear Mountain Arena to face the Wolves on Wednesday the 16th.