Buccaneers Too Much For Braves to Handle

Saanich Braves full color logo

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

January 31, 2014, Saanich, BC (ISN) – The Nanaimo Buccaneers used a five-goal, second period explosion to cruise to an 8-2 win over the Saanich Braves in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.

The win was the second in a row for the Buc’s over the Braves, coming on the heels of a 4-3 win in Nanaimo on Thursday night.

The Braves actually got the jump in this game, outplaying the Buccaneers over the first 5 minutes plus of the game and being rewarded when Jordan Groenhyde blasted a powerplay slap shot past Buc’s goaltender Ryan Waldhaus – making his first start since returning from injury – at the 8:58 mark, to give the Braves the 1-0 lead.

The Buccaneers would respond on the ensuing shift however and after Braves starting goaltender Jason Stewart made a save on a tough shot from Jake Calverley, Lee Orpen banged home the rebound at the 9:24 mark to even the score.

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Saanich’s Garrett Stankoven moves the puck out of his zone. Stankoven would score one of the Braves 2 goals on the night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Braves then found themselves in penalty trouble, taking three penalties in a row to give all the momentum back to the visitors. The latter two penalties gave the Buc’s an extended 5-on-3 advantage, on which they would capitalize at the 18:17 mark when a quick shot off the wing by Nick White would deflect off the leg of Braves defenceman Garrett Stankoven and beat Stewart on the glove side for the 2-1 lead.

In the second period, the play was relatively even over the first half of the period, but then, inexplicably, the Braves just seemed to stop playing and the Buccaneers would score three quick goals in the span of just over 2 minutes to blow the game open.

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Captain Lee Orpen would have three goals to pace the Buccaneers attack on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Orpen would start the onslaught at the 9:24 mark, capitalizing on a tired Braves line that simply could not get the puck out of their end. Just 1:05 later, Daniel Foglietta would blow past the Braves defence, cut to the net neatly off the left wing and slide the puck under Stewart for 4-1 lead. At the 12:36 mark, Shane Dial would walk in on a 2-on-1 and snipe another past Stewart to put Nanaimo up 5-1.

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Nanaimo’s Thor Rosback carries the puck up ice Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

That would be the end of the night for Stewart, as Braves Coach Brad Cook decided to change up the momentum by going to emergency back-up goaltender Linden Marshall, a 15-year old Victoria Racquet Club product, who is a prospect of the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL.

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Saanich emergency back-up Linden Marshall would get a taste of VIJHL action Friday when he came in to relieve starter Jason Stewart (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Marshall’s status as a WHL prospect did not matter to the Buccaneers, who promptly greeted him with their fourth goal of the period at the 13:54 mark when Orpen would tip home his third of the night while on the powerplay. A fifth goal by Kyle MacDonald was added before the period was out and the Buc’s took the 7-1 lead to the break.

In the third, things got a bit nasty early on, as the Braves Liam Sproule lined up Nanaimo’s leading scorer Garrett Dunlop for an open-ice hit just under 6 minutes in, catching him knee-on-knee hit and sending Dunlop sprawling to the ice in agony. Sproule was issued a 5-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct, and Nanaimo’s MacDonald earned a 2-minute unsportsmanlike penalty and a 10-minute misconduct for trying to get to Sproule after the incident.

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Garrett Brandsma continued his point a game pace since joining the Buccaneers, notching a goal and an assist on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

As to Dunlop, he was helped off the ice and was not putting any weight on his leg. Reports after the game were that he was taken to hospital for examination but no further report on his condition was known at press time.

Things continued to get chippy as the Buc’s Thor Rosback and the Braves Quinn Miller dropped the gloves at the 6:46 mark, with both being ejected from the game.

After that the game continued without further incident. Garrett Brandsma would tally for the Buc’s at the 10:43 mark, while Garrett Stankoven would respond for the Braves at the 12:23 mark to round out the scoring.

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Saanich defenseman Jordan Groenhyde scored the Braves opening goal Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Orpen, with his three goals, led the Bucs offense, while Will McNamara (three assists) and Daniel Foglietta (goal and two assists) would also have 3-point evenings. Garrett Brandsma finished with a goal and an assist and now has 4 goals and 3 assists in his 6 games since joining the team.

The loss drops the Braves record to 11-31-1-1, however they remain in the hunt for the final playoff spot, thanks to Oceanside’s 6-1 loss to Comox. In other VIJHL action Friday, the Peninsula Panthers blanked Kerry Park 3-0, while Campbell River defeated the Westshore Wolves 6-1.

The Braves will now re-group for games next week against Kerry Park on Friday at Pearkes and Saturday in Oceanside.

Christian J. Stewart
Christian is a professional photographer and media professional based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Currently working as the Assistant General Manager for Victoria HarbourCats Baseball Club, a Senior Contributing Editor and photographer at Independent Sports News (ISN) and operating his own freelance photography and media/pr company.