Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
September 13, 2014, Saanich, BC (ISN) – The Westshore Wolves put a damper on the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Saanich Braves home opener by coming away with a 6-2 victory in VIJHL action Friday night at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.
Westshore’s Connor Krupa (left) battles through the check of Saanich’s Alex Schlueter (right) during first period action on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The evening was highlighted by a First Nations dance and drumming display prior to the game courtesy of the Songhees First Nations, as well as puck drop by Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard, the National Anthem sung by the wonderful Lilly Cave and a donation of $1,000 from the Saanich Firefighters to the Saanich Minor Hockey Association.
Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard (left) drops the ceremonial first puck, while the Saanich Firefighters donated $1000 to the Saanich Minor Hockey Association on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Unfortunately for the Braves and their fans, those were the main highlights of the night, as the tough, veteran-laden Wolves team, coming into Friday night’s game at 3-0, would use a four goal second period to propel themselves to their fourth win of the year.
The game actually began relatively evenly, but the Wolves eventually took control, outshooting the Braves 10-3 in the first period and scoring on the powerplay at the 12:02 mark when Brett Lervold grabbed a loose puck at the side of the net and out it upstairs over Saanich goaltender Nick Dueck.
Saanich’s Alex Schlueter looks to move the puck into the Wolves end under the watch of Westshore’s Jacob Malloch (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In the second, the teams again played a relatively even contest, the shots were 14-14, but a number of defensive miscues cost the Braves dearly, as the Wolves would score three of their four goals on breakaway chances, including a short-handed marker from Kyle Richter, who would finish with 5 points on the night.
Saanich’s Hunter Atchison moves the puck through the neutral zone during Friday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Other goal scorers for the Wolves included Cory Peterson, Connor Krupa and Duncan Cochrane. Mackenzie Valentine responded with his second goal of the season at the 19:02 mark to get the Braves on the board and head into the second break down 5-1.
Westshore’s Kyle Richter had a good evening Friday with a goal and four assists to lead the Wolves to their 6-2 win over the Braves (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Braves gave their fans some hope of a late comeback when Nyshan Basra popped home his first of the season, a powerplay marker, at the 12:40 mark of the third, but the Wolves would respond three minutes later when Tyler Stanton would swoop in from the point and bang home the Wolves sixth goal, his first on the year.
Saanich defenceman Kyle Schnettler had a pair of assists for the Braves on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Dueck, who was hoping to get a win against his former Wolves teammates, finished the night with 31 saves, while Chris Smith got the win for the Wolves, stopping 28 of the 30 shots he faced.
In other VIJHL action Friday night, the Victoria Cougars moved to 3-0 on the season by beating someone other than the Braves, defeating Peninsula 4-2. Comox also defeated Oceanside 6-1 while the Campbell River Storm defeated Nanaimo 3-2.
Saanich’s Mackenzie Valentine scored his second goal of the season on Friday against the Wolves (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: Saanich’s Dayne Ellison was back in the line-up after serving a three game suspension and had an assist. Saanich defeceman Kyle Schnettler had assists on both Saanich goals. MIke Affleck, Josh Poland and Conner Allan were healthy scratches for the Braves Friday. The Braves and their families enjoyed a nice meet and greet following the game at the Crooked Goose Bistro in Saanich.