The 2012–13 season was the Nanaimo Buccaneers’ first in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) so why not finish first in their division?

On Thursday, Feb. 7 the Buccaneers’ home game win against the Westshore Wolves secured their first place lead in the North Division of the VIJHL. After dominating the period, Beau Blanaru of the Bucs opened the scoring at 17:45 of the first period with assists going to Garrett Dunlop and Will McNamara. Despite being out played, out skilled, and out skated the Wolves were able to go into the first intermission holding Nanaimo to a one goal lead.

The second period scoring began just 35 seconds into frame with Blanaru’s second goal of the game, once again with help from McNamara and Dunlop. With a two goal lead the Bucs played good old fashioned end-to-end hockey with big hits, pretty passing plays, and few whistles. Just over nine minutes later Riel Gibson, who recently joined Nanaimo in a trade from the Oceanside Generals, gave the home team a 3–0 lead. McNamara once again interrupted the flow of the game at 11:55 when he beat Wolves goaltender Alec Dillon to give the Buccaneers a four goal lead.

Westshore came out in the third with energy and determination, despite being down 4–0. At 4:52 the Wolves took advantage of a power play and beat Bucs’ goalie Cam Large, closing the lead to three goals. Just two minutes later McNamara scored his second goal of the night and regained the Bucs’ lead to four. Just after the 16 minute mark, McNamara netted his third goal of the night, completing his hat trick and giving his team a commanding 6–1 lead.

The big story of the game began late in the second period when tempers started to flare out of control. Both teams were battling hard around the net and the aggression continued long after the whistle. The referees were disputing a call at 17:55 of the third period in the corner of the Westshore end when the players reached their boiling point and an every-man-for-himself line brawl broke out on the ice. Even goaltenders Large and Dillon met at centre ice and duked it out.

Referees gave out 22 penalties on one stoppage of play. A total of 137 penalty minutes were doled between the two teams—some 2-minute minors, a few 5-minute majors, and 11 10-minute misconducts. Goalies and fighting players were escorted off the ice and were removed for the remainder of the game.

After all the penalties were sorted out and the boys were settled down on the benches, Westshore netted the final goal of the night. The Buccaneers closed out a solid home win 6–2 and clinched first place in the North Division.

On Saturday, Feb. 9 the Buccaneers travelled to Duncan to be a part of Hockey Day in the Valley, where they faced the Kerry Park Islanders. After clinching the division two days before, the Buccaneers were the fan favourite to win the game.

The underdog Islanders had a different idea of how the game was going to go, as Kerry Park took the game 4–0. Forward Kyle Peterson led the Islanders with a goal and two assists. Nanaimo was unable to take advantage of the extra man, going 0-for-5 on the power play. They outshot the Islanders 32–28 but Kerry Parks’ goaltender Jackson Jane played a solid 60 minutes in net and the Bucs were unable to find the back of the net.

Thursday, Feb. 14, the day of love, was anything but loving in the mind of the Buccaneers. They played their last regular home game of the season as the visiting Oceanside Generals took the ice at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. These two teams had close, hard fought battles all season long, and this game did not disappoint with a 3-2 Bucs victory.

To close out their regular season the Buccaneers travelled to the Comox Valley to take on the Glacier Kings on Feb. 16 and defeated the home team 4-3. Playoffs begin this weekend, visit <> for a complete post-season schedule.


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