© Copyright – 2019 – Victoria Sports News

The Victoria Cougars could take the easy way out and coast into the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League post season. They have locked up first place in the South Division and have no chance of catching the North Division-leading Campbell River Storm for the regular season league title.

But it is better to enter the playoffs with a winning attitude and that is what they did Sunday. They defeated the Nanaimo Buccaneers at Archie Browning Arena 5-3.

They outshot Nanaimo 32-28 and the powerplay was firing on all cylinders going 3/5 or 60%.

Nanaimo scored a shorthanded goal early to open the scoring. At 1:28, Trey Watson buried the puck unassisted.

The Cougars answered back with two during the opening frame one powerplay goal each from Kevan McBean and Mateo Albinati at 10:00 and 13:59 respectively.

They would score two more before Nanaimo would answer one at 3:45 and 11:22 of the second period from Tyler Vanuden and Bryce Irwin.

Again the Buccaneers would score shorthanded when Ethan Dyck potted one at 15:22.

Victoria’s answer was to score a powerplay marker at 16:11 from Matthew Clark, for five goals by five different goal scorers for Victoria. Zachary Evans was off for two minutes for roughing.

The only goal of the third period was a powerplay marker – Nanaimo went 1/3 – from Seamus O’Toole.

Booker Chacalias, probably trying to catch Kerry Park Islanders Evan Easton for the league’s point race picked up three assists.

Riley Gannon earned two assists for the Buccaneers.

Owen Sikkas earned the win in net for Victoria stopping 25 of 28 shots fired his way, while Blake Wood took the loss for the Buccaneers stopping 18-20 and playing 35:31, while Spencer Deakin played 23:45 stopping 9 of 12.

Elsewhere in the VIJHL, the Kerry Park Islanders defeated the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 5-1. They outshot the visitors 31-20 and scored 2/7 on the man advantage. Comox scored once on their three opportunities.

With Chacalias chasing Easton for the regular season scoring title Evan Easton needed points. He opened the scoring at 16:14 for the only goal of the first period.

The Islanders would score three more in less than seven minutes during the second period with another from Easton as well as one each from Brandon McClintick and Romaeo D’Intinio.

Grady Robertson would get a powerplay marker to close out the period at 16:58. That was all that the Glacier Kings could muster.

The Islanders would score once more at 11:54 when Dawson Blanchette burying the puck from Matt Baird and McClintick.

Easton led the way with three points to keep pace in front of Chacalias.

Matthias Smith stopped 26 of 31 shots in the losing effort, while Brett Rook made easy work of the 20 shots that he faced, stopping all but one.

Around the VIJHL:

The Westshore Wolves visit the Campbell River Storm for a 7:30 pm puck drop at Rod Brind’Amour Arena. Tuesday the Buccaneers visit the Peninsula Panthers also with a 7:30 pm puck drop. Wednesday will be a rematch from Monday with the Storm visiting the Westshore Wolves at The Q Centre.

NORTH DIVISION
TEAM GP W L T TP
Storm 44 32 9 0 101
Buccaneers 42 23 15 0 75
Generals 44 16 23 0 56
Glacier Kings 43 4 37 0 15
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SOUTH DIVISION
TEAM GP W L T TP
Cougars 45 26 11 0 93
Islanders 45 21 15 0 75
Braves 45 18 17 0 68
Wolves 43 15 20 0 56
Panthers 43 13 21 0 52
VIEW FULL STANDINGS »
SCORING LEADERS
PLAYER GP G A PTS
E. Easton (KPI) 44 27 36 63
B. Chacalias (VIC) 41 29 32 61
B. McClintick (KPI) 40 11 41 52
M. Albinati (VIC) 35 25 26 51
T. Tiel (KPI) 40 23 28 51
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GOALIE LEADERS
GOALIE GP W GAA SV%
J Little (CRS) 14 9 1.92 .913
A de Kok (CRS) 28 22 1.97 .933
C Stevenson (VIC) 24 18 2.12 .925
B Wood (NAN) 13 8 2.30 .909
O Sikkes (VIC) 19 13 2.35 .925
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