VIJHL North Final Preview

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By Kyle Anderson

February 28, 2013, Nanaimo, BC (ISN) – The Nanaimo Buccaneers swept their first ever playoff series against the Kerry Park Islanders in the 1st Round of the North Division Playoffs, while the Comox Valley Glacier Kings swept the Oceanside Generals in their first round matchup.

These two evenly matched teams will square off for the North Division Title, starting Tuesday March 5th at the Nanaimo Ice Center.

The Schedule

Game 1 – Tuesday March 5th – Nanaimo Ice Center – 7:15

Game 2 – Thursday March 7th – Nanaimo Ice Center – 7:15

Game 3 – Saturday March 9th – Comox Valley Sports Center – 7:30

Game 4 – Tuesday March 12th – Comox Valley Sports Center – 7:30

***First Ever Buc’s Online broadcast for Game 4***

Game 5 – Thursday March 14th – Nanaimo Ice Center – 7:15 (If Necessary)

Game 6 – Saturday March 16th – Comox Valley Sports Center – 7:30 (If Necessary)

Game 7 – Sunday March 17th – Frank Crane Arena – 7:15 (If Necessary)

The Preview

With both the Nanaimo Buccaneers and Comox Valley Glacier Kings coming off sweeps of their first round series, Game 1 on Tuesday night will prove to be an interesting one. With neither team playing for at least a week, it gives each a chance to rest up and recover. On the Buc’s side of things, that means Jake Calverley and Lynden Eddy will get a chance to be ready to return, while Comox Valley’s Tyson Rennie will have a few extra days, although reports indicate he is done for the season. Let’s take a look at the position by position breakdown.

Goalies

Michael Hails has started all 4 playoff games so far for Comox, and has been playing well of late. The Buc’s saw Hails 5 times in the Regular season, only beating him twice, as finished 3-2 with a 2.60 GAA. For the Buc’s it’s been a season of splits for Riley Medves and Cameron Large. Each goaltender appeared in 26 games this season, and their numbers are eerily similar. Cameron Large posted 1 more victory than Medves, however Medves had the lower GAA and higher save% over the course of the season. Right now Head Coach Brad Knight might as well be pulling out a lucky coin to determine the Game 1 starter.

Defensemen

When you look at the defense both these teams have, there are 2 players that stand out, and they both play for the Glacier Kings. 6’2 Garrett Halls and 6’5 Nick Tupper are the anchors of the backend for the Glacier Kings, while 6’3 Patrick Croome sees a lot of ice as well. The big bruising bodies of those 3 will need to punish the Buc’s offence in order to be effective in this series. The team defense allowed 181 goals this season. There is an offensive upside to this blue lines game as well, getting 24 goals and 77 assists from the backend.

On the Buc’s side of the puck size is not something you notice, but there are shifty bodies that get the job done. Team captain Quentin McShane and Noah Russi have been defensive stalwarts for the upstart Buc’s, while Jake Calverley and Colin Mathieson bring a love for physical play from the backend. Overall as a team, the Buc’s allowed 150 goals this season. Derian Hamilton was the offensive leader from the blue line, racking up 34 points, and overall the Dee saw 23 goals and 90 assists from the back end, so it will be interesting to see which of the offensive D-corps will play the shutdown role in this series.

Forwards

Both teams have lots of skill and effort to choose from up front in this series. The Buc’s are lead by VIJHL Rookie of the Year Garrett Dunlop, who finished the season 16 points better than the next closest North Division player. Scoring wise the Buc’s put 167 pucks in the net this season, while Comox scored 186. Overall for goals, the Buc’s were lead by Will McNamara (23), Garrett Dunlop (22), and Daniel Foglietta (20). On the offensive side for the Glacier Kings, Tyson Rennie scored 22, but was hurt in the 2nd to last game of the regular season, Rylan Ball scored 20, including 5 in the season series, and Wade Bartlett added 14. The season series between these two saw a lot of one goal games, and two blowouts in Comox’s favour, so expect a key goal in the 3rd to decide the majority of these games.

Special Teams

An interesting statistic to look at, especially when it comes to ranking the two teams and predicting how big special teams could be in this series. The Buc’s ranked 8th on the PP while Comox was 7th on the PK. The thing with the Buc’s PP is throughout the season they rolled 4 lines with the extra man to get PP experience to all players. Expect both the PP for Nanaimo and PK for Comox to be a lot better in this 2nd round, as Comox is coming off a 100% PK against Oceanside, and Nanaimo saw a 29.6% efficiency rate against Kerry Park. On the flip side of the coin, Comox Valley operated at 20.8% efficiency this season (3rd overall), while Nanaimo’s PK was ranked 2nd in the league at 85.5%. Special teams in this series will be an interesting battle, and fans should be treated to equal opportunities with the man advantage.

Overall Prediction

The regular season records overall dictate that the Nanaimo Buccaneers were much better than Comox, however the season series between the two was as dead even as they come. Comox Valley has come on strong lately, gelling as a team and performing on the ice. Both teams are coming off their respective franchise first series sweeps. The key to this series will be who settles down first. Having a week off rests players, but the build-up and anticipation can be detrimental to the success of each hockey club. The team that can settle down the fastest in Game 1 will be successful. Another worthy point (see stats below) is the score after 40 minutes of play. When leading after the 2nd, Comox Valley is 22-1-2, while Nanaimo is 23-2-2. Neither team relinquishes the lead after 40, so take a look at the scoreboard when the 2nd period buzzer sounds, and strap in for a defensive 3rd period no matter who is leading.

The Season Series

The season series between these two hockey clubs was a dead heat. The Nanaimo Buccaneers would tie the season series in the last game of the regular season, and no team would win more than 2 games in a row. Only the season opener would go to overtime and only 4 of the 10 games were decided by more than 1 goal. On home ice, each team would go 3-2, so no advantages there. Let’s take a look at the games.

Game 1: September 6th 2012 – Home Opener

Dylan Moore would score the first goal for the Nanaimo Buccaneers franchise, and Quentin McShane would score the OT winner after Moore tied it up in the dying minute.
Final Score: Comox Valley 4 Nanaimo 5 (OT)

Game 2: September 8th 2012 – Courtenay

The Nanaimo Buccaneers would get goals from Jordan Levesque, Garrett Dunlop, and McShane in their 2nd victory.
Final Score: Nanaimo 3 Comox Valley 2

Game 3: October 4th 2012 – Nanaimo

The Buccaneers come out flat in the first period surrendering 5 goals on 16 shots. Beau Blanaru and Corey Renwick would score for the Buc’s.
Final Score: Comox Valley 6 Nanaimo 2

Game 4: October 20th 2012 – Courtenay

A rough night all around for the Nanaimo Buccaneers as Jordan Levesque would score the only goal for the team. They went 0 for 7 on the power play.
Final Score: Nanaimo 1 Comox Valley 6

Game 5: November 8th 2012 – Nanaimo

The Buc’s would get back into the win column on this night as Cameron Large would make 24 saves as Dunlop, Renwick (2), Johnathan Speer, and Daniel Foglietta would all score in the victory.
Final Score: Comox Valley 3 Nanaimo 5

Game 6: December 15th 2012 – Courtenay

The game would go back and forth for the first 40 minutes seeing 9 goals scored, however the last 20 saw nothing, as Comox outgunned the Buc’s 5-4. Lynden Eddy, Dunlop, Levesque (2) were the goal scorers
Final Score: Nanaimo 4 Comox Valley 5

Game 7: January 3rd 2013 – Nanaimo

Riley Medves would make 37 saves, Renwick, Will McNamara, and Dunlop would score goals, but a late goal by Comox’s Mitch Ball would win it for Comox
Final Score: Comox Valley 4 Nanaimo 3

Game 8: January 17th 2013 – Nanaimo

Cameron Large would post a shutout for the Buc’s making 36 saves, and Blanaru and Jake Calverly would score in the 3rd for the victory.
Final Score: Comox Valley 0 Nanaimo 2

Game 9: January 19th 2013 – Courtenay

In a game dominated by goaltenders Large and Michael Hails, a PP marker by Comox in the 2nd period would be the difference in giving them a 5-4 Series lead. Blanaru would get the goal for the Buc’s
Final Score: Nanaimo 1 Comox Valley 2

Game 10: February 16th 2013 – Courtenay

In the final game of the season, the Buc’s would tie up the season series with a victory over the Glacier Kings. Nick White, Foglietta, Eddy, and Blanaru would score the goals.
Final Score: Nanaimo 4 Comox Valley 3

 

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