Braves look to regain form for playoffs

It’s been a roller coaster season for most teams in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League this year, the Saanich Braves included

It’s been a roller coaster season for most teams in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League this year.

It usually is.

Saanich Braves coach Brad Cook, for one, is thrilled the ride is over.

(See preview of Island League’s wild card game on Sunday here.)

The second-place Braves (30-14-3) will face the third-place Westshore Wolves (27-19-1) in the first round of the South division playoffs starting next week. The first-place Victoria Cougars (44-1-1) will face the fourth-place Peninsula Panthers (21-23-3).

Two months ago the Braves would have been the automatic favourite to win the first round series but now they’re closer to being the underdog, having limped through January with three wins in 11 games.

On the bright side, the Braves did win three of its first four games in February. But the only loss was also the Braves’ fourth straight to the expansion Wolves.

Therefore it’s the Wolves who are the favourite, despite sitting eight points back of the Braves with one game left in the season.

“I’ve had a lineup on paper that I’ve wanted to see hit the ice all season and I’m finally seeing it now,” Cook said. “We’re collectively healthy, for the most part, which is a huge step.”

Officially, the first game with the desired lineup was a 5-4 loss to the Wolves on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

“We took the loss hard because we didn’t perform well, we lost with 40 seconds to go but we had no business being in that hockey game anyways,” Cook said.

Still, the Braves feel their chances are good. They bounced back with an 8-3 win over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings thanks to production from all three scoring lines, Cook said.

He also pointed to the fourth line, or grind line of Seamus Maguire, Josh McGladdery and Sam Johnston, for doing a fantastic job on the penalty kill.

“They give us that push back when we need it. They don’t always produce but do their job to a T.”

The Cougars and not-so-sweetheart rivals Braves meet Feb. 14, 7 p.m. at Archie Browning Sports Centre for a Valentines Day finale to the regular season.

The Wolves closed the season out Wednesday night with a 4-2 win over the Panthers at Bear Mountain Arena.








Just Posted

Oak Bay cyclists have new resource to aid in health and fitness

Bike Fix Station installed at Rec Centre thanks to Firefighters Charitable Foundation

Elizabeth May arrested at Kinder Morgan protest

Randall Garrison, MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, speaks out against pipeline

Esquimalt High robotics students engineer their way to Texas

Rookie team qualifies for FIRST World Championship after breathing life into armed robot Spike

Large Kinder Morgan pipeline protest at Victoria MP office

Dozens gathered out front of Murray Rankin’s constituency office Friday to protest Trans Mountain pipeline

5 must-do things this weekend in Greater Victoria

Soccer playoffs, hockey playoffs, Dunahee run, art show and Lego

Vancouver Island’s Best Videos of the Week

A look at some of the best video stories from the past week ending March 23, 2018

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

Vancouver Island pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions we received from around the region

MLA Report: Lowering the voting age to 16 in BC

By Andrew Weaver On March 13, I introduced for a third time… Continue reading

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

Comox Valley hospital operating above patient capacity

The new healthcare facility averaged a 110 per cent patient volume between October and February

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Most Read