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The Saanich Braves avoided being keelhauled by the Nanaimo Buccaneers Friday night as they extended their Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoff series to seven games by winning 6-4.
The game took place at home at Pearkes Arena – it’s a home-team series and the final game will take place in Nanaimo. The Braves will need a whole new compete level Sunday when they face off at 7:30 pm.
The Braves took a whopping 44 shots on Derek Krall; however, the Buccaneers weren’t fooling around either as they fired a total of 46 at Riley Mathieson. Both goaltenders played strong games.
Nanoose Bay’s Trent Bell, a fifth-year, 21-year-old, opened the scoring for Nanaimo at 10:35 of the first period with Evan Pattison assisting. It was the only goal of the first. The game would open up during the second period.
First-year, Zach Guerra, just 17-years-old got the Braves on the board at 20 seconds, to score his first of three on the night. Trevor Owens picked up on the only assist on the play.
The teams exchanged goals back and forth to finish off the second period with the score 4-3 for Nanaimo. Facing elimination and 20-minutes of play remaining, the Braves needed to shut down the Buccaneers during the third.
Guerra finished off the hat-trick at 29 seconds, again Owens assisting as well as Michael Sproule. Then Sproule scored at 5:41 on the powerplay from Elliott MacIsaac. MacIsaac then set up Cameron LeSergent at 10:13 to go up 6-4 and skate out the rest of the period with the lead.
Guerra led Saanich offensively with the three-goal goal performance, while MacIsaac and Owens both earned two assists.
Billy Walters led the way for Nanaimo with one goal and two assists, while Pattison picked up a pair of assists.
Unlike some of the other games during the series, the players on both teams kept the extra-curricular activities to a minimum. Nanaimo’s powerplay went 0/1, while the Braves scored once on their two opportunities.
The winner of this series will go on to play the well-rested Campbell River Storm.