The last time the Cougars and Bucs faced each-other a few weeks ago it was a mess. The Buccaneers ended up with 14 games worth of suspensions, 9 to Braydon Nelson. The Cougars won that game.
Last night the Cougars were trying to keep that same Nanaimo team at bay and lock up 2nd overall in the league standings.
Things didn’t start out so well for the Cougars though. A minute and a half into the game, with the Cougars already on the power play, the Buccaneers Trey Watson stole the puck in the Cougars end and potted the first of two shorthanded goals for Nanaimo on the night.
The Bucs continued their trips to the box though. The next two goals were both Cougar power play goals. The first from Kevan McBean with a bomb from the right circle and the second a top-shelf job from Mateo Albinati on a nice feed from Booker Chacalias.
Tyler Vanuden and Bryce Irwin added 5 on 5 markers in the 2nd period to make the game 4-1 before Ethan Dyck added that second shorty. The Cougars got that second one back though when Matthew Clark scored on that same power play.
Nanaimo was able to get a power play goal themselves in the 3rd but it wasn’t enough and the Cougars took the 3 points and guaranteed at least 2nd place overall.
If Nanaimo wins out the season and the Cougars lose their remaining 3 games in regulation the Buccaneers will be tied in points with Victoria at 93, but Victoria already has the tie-breaker by virtue of more wins overall.
Victoria actually has a shot at first overall too, although unlikely. If Campbell River loses their 4 remaining games and the Cougars win the 3 remaining games in regulation the Cougars will have 1 more point than the Storm. If the Storm lose once in overtime and the rest in regulation and the Cougars win out, Victoria gets first with the tie breaker. If Campbell River wins any games they clinch. Basically, first place is Campbell River’s to lose.
The real question is the race for 3rd, and 5th. The middle of the standings are anyone’s guess right now. It will be interesting to see if the 3 point system makes or breaks a team this late in the season.