The VIJHL playoffs got off to a promising start for the Nanaimo Buccaneers as the team won the opening game of their series against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. But the game one victory was all the Buccaneers could muster as they lost the first round series to Comox Valley in five games.
The Buccaneers picked up the 5-2 victory in Comox Valley in game one of the series on February 17, but the Glacier Kings took over the series after the game one victory, winning game two 4-3 in overtime in Nanaimo. Then the Glacier Kings picked up the 5-3 win on home ice in game three, and took a 3-1 lead in the series with a dominating 8-4 victory in Nanaimo in game four.
The Buccaneers tried to stave off elimination in game five, but the Glacier Kings proved to be too much to handle for the Buccaneers. 6:50 into the first period, Comox captain Derian Hamilton scored to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. Later, Grant Iles scored to give Comox a 2-0 lead at 15:21 of the first, but Carter Turnbull scored just 46 seconds later to cut the Kings’ lead to 2-1 after the first period.
Early in the second period, the Kings got goals from Iles and Hamilton to give the Kings a 4-1 lead. Zach Funk got the Buccaneers back into the game with a shorthanded goal with just under five minutes left in the second.
The Buccaneers needed a third period comeback to fight off elimination and force a game six back in Nanaimo. The Buccaneers’ comeback got off to a good start, with Clayton Peace scoring on the powerplay to make the score 4-3. But just over a minute after Peace’s goal, Frank Colapaolo beat Buccaneers’ netminder Jakob Severson to restore the two-goal Comox lead. The Buccaneers tried to mount a comeback in the final minutes of regulation, but were unable to find another goal as they fell to the Glacier Kings by a final score of 5-3.
For the Buccaneers, the five-game loss marks the second year in a row that the team has been defeated in the first round. The Buccaneers fell to the Campbell River Storm in six games in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
The Buccaneers will have the opportunity to ice a very strong team next season, as every player except 20-year-old Johnathan Speer is eligible to return, although they are also likely to lose leading goal scorer Carter Turnbull, who seems destined for at least JR A hockey next season.