File photo. Mitch Propp. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2016 – Victoria Sports News

Friday night’s trifecta of games in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League demonstrated retribution for teams that have had enough of their respective slumps, or as in the case of the Nanaimo Buccaneers’ s game, they are enjoying a mid-season rampage through the league; the kids are getting serious.

The Saanich Braves displayed their distaste for losing with two consecutive wins including a 9-3 demolition of the Peninsula Panthers.

Meanwhile, are the Braves back and ready to challenge the Victoria Cougars for first place in the South Division again?

The Panthers are not rolling over easily and despite sporadic moments of good hockey, their last place record is likely disconcerting. Friday’s game saw an enormous volume of penalties served to both teams, who are going in very different directions: the Braves who know they are better than they have been lately and the Panthers, who just want results for their efforts. Thirteen roughing penalties were handed out, 12 before the end of the second period, while five misconducts were issued. Good for the Panthers, for not rolling over.

The Braves took a jaw-dropping 49 shots on Justin Anderson and Liam Tutte combined including 19 in the second period.

Evan Horvath and Scott Henderson both had four point nights, to step up and lead the team where Nick Guerra has been injured or mired in a slump – this takes the pressure of the league leader in goals and points. Brandon Barnes also netted two goals and one assist. The Braves had seven different goal scorers, which is an important step for a team that appeared to be a one trick pony for most of the season.

Similarly the first-place Victoria Cougars, challenged by a North Division team who lost their second place position to the Nanaimo Buccaneers last week, crushed the visiting Cats 8-2. The Comox Valley Glacier Kings apparently have had enough too.

File photo. Nick Guerra. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Twelve roughing penalties were handed out, both teams went 1/7 on the powerplay and the shots ended up being 37-30 for the Glacier Kings.

Seven different Glacier Kings scored, while Matteo Giomo picked up two goals and first star honours.

The Glacier Kings came out with a vengeance and never let up, scoring three unanswered goals during the first including at the 40-second mark. The second period was no different with the Kings scoring at 1:14 and potting three unanswered before the Cougars broke Marcus Gloss’s shutout bid at 15:55. Any inkling of a momentum shift was quelled shortly after, when Matteo scored 1:40 later to close the second period with a 7-1 lead.

The third period saw the teams exchange a goal each. So, are the Glacier Kings back? Their next opportunity to rack up the points come Monday against the Oceanside Generals.

In Campbell River, the steaming-hot Nanaimo Buccaneers did something that few teams have been able to do in three years, crush the Storm in their own building. The Buc’s defeated the first place Storm by the score of 7-2.

The Buccaneers’ defencemen currently owe goaltender John Hawthorne a free lunch at an establishment of his choice. It is possible that he will suffer mild PTSD after being shell-shocked with 47 shots and an intimating 20 during the middle frame. Surely this performance will garner Player of the Week honours. He was voted as the game’s first star.

Interestingly there was only one powerplay goal scored during the 10 opportunities between both teams. The Bucs went ¼ while the Storm went 0/6. Trent Bell scored twice, while five teammates netted markers. Cam Nickerson earned three assists on the night.

The poor Generals will face two very tough opponents on back-to-back nights including Sunday against the Storm, who are likely angry as a blizzard and will be out for vengeance.

Thursday December 22nd may be the game of the week as the Braves visit the Buccaneers. If the Braves indeed are spreading the scoring around and are now a serious contender again, this should be a very exciting matchup.

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