Saanich Braves defender Jacob King leans into regular-season MVP Evan Easton of the Kerry Park Islanders. (Kevin Rothbauer/Black Press)

Braves overtake Islanders to advance in junior B playoffs

Saanich Braves, Campbell River Storm enter rematch of 2018 final

The Saanich Braves have advanced to the second round of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs with a 4-2 best-of-seven series win over the Kerry Park Islanders.

It ended on Friday with a 4-0 shutout by Braves goalie Anderson Violette at Pearkes.

The fifth-seed Braves will now face the first-seed Campbell River Storm in a rematch of the 2018 VIJHL final that the Storm won in Game 7. The first two games are Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. in Campbell River, with Games 3 and 4 at Pearkes, 6 p.m. on Monday and 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

READ MORE: ‘It will always sting a little,’ but Braves know 2018 was a great run

Despite finishing atop the league in the 2018-19 season standings the Storm dropped to a 3-1 deficit to the eighth-seed Peninsula Panthers in the first round.

“It’s exciting to go to the second-round [against the Storm], they’re coming off a grind with Peninsula, they’re playing good hockey,” said Braves coach and general manager Sam Waterfield.

It’s been an interesting year as the Braves shot out to a 12-0-1 record and didn’t drop their first regulation loss until Game 13 against the Westshore Wolves on Oct. 19. The Braves then lulled with a mediocre record before slowly picking up their game and resembling the team that was within a win of the 2018 VIJHL Patterson Memorial Trophy.

“Come February the team started to sense the excitement for the playoffs, we played better and stuck to our game plan and got results,” Waterfield said.

READ ALSO: Storm complete comeback to win series in Game 7

In the first round the Braves took Games 1 and 2 on the road in Kerry Park 6-3 and 3-1. The 2-0 lead was the cushion Braves they needed as the Islanders and Braves then split the next four games. Kyle Mace stood out in Game 1 for the Braves as the 20-year-old potted a hat trick, matching a fifth of his regular season goals in one game. Mace is tied for the team lead in playoff scoring at seven points with Gavin Grewal.

Mace’s game matches up nicely with the playoffs, when the hockey is grittier and it can be harder to earn space, Waterfield said.

“[Mace] plays physical and the intensity he brings suits the playoffs well,” Waterfield said. “Obviously the refs let a little bit more physicality go in the playoffs.”

Round 2 starts with the first two games in Campbell River.

“Both rosters have seen a lot of changes over the last 12 months, Game 1 will be a little bit of a feeling process,” Waterfield said. “There’s still some bad blood from last year that will elevate the temperature. It’ll get there quickly.”

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Group finds B.C. Archives collection licences costs prohibitive

Teachers asked to pay $25 per image to use on slideshows

VicPD officer saves man overdosing on opioids

The man was found lying on the sidewalk early Thursday morning

UVic hosts forum on state of democracy with scholars from around the globe

Forum takes places Friday in Ceremonial Hall in First Peoples House at the University of Victoria

New role created to mediate on-site harassment for construction employers

Across the province Builders Code Advisors will work to retain more employees

Protective human chain to form around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders invited to stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Second case of measles reported in the B.C. Interior

Case is connected to an earlier measles case in 100 Mile House

Police watchdog investigating after man falls out third-storey window in Vancouver

The man fell to the ground and was taken to hospital with serious injuries

Cheetahs will not prosper in Creston: Permit rejected for two big cats

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

GM announces jobs, electric vehicle after Trump criticism

The company says it will spend $300 million at its plant in Orion Township

Trucker who caused Broncos crash likely to be deported: lawyer

The Crown has asked that Sidhu serve 10 years in prison

China chemical plant blast kills 47, injures hundreds more

This is one of China’s worst industrial accidents in recent years

Most Read