Sometimes shots on goal don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes they do.
Hockey historians will one day determine which, if either, was the case Nov. 2 at George Pearkes Arena when the Saanich Braves outshot the Comox Valley Glacier Kings 52-33 en route to a 6-3 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League victory.
On paper, the Wednesday night tilt appears to be a blowout for the Braves. On the ice, it was much closer than the final three-goal margin indicates.
The Yetis grabbed their only lead of the game at 17:33 of the opening period when Liam Nijhoff netted his fourth goal of the season, a powerplay marker.
The Braves equalized early in the second courtesy of Evan Badry. Then the game opened up, with the teams combining for five goals in the final six minutes of the middle stanza, during which time Saanich outshot Comox Valley 19-9.
Brandon Fushimi put the home team up 2-1 at 14:05, with Zachary Ahola pulling the visitors even just 11 seconds later. Saanich struck at 15:51 (Evan Horvath) and 17:39 (Dale McCabe) to establish a 4-2 lead before G-Kings’ leading scorer Finn Withey zinged the strings at 19:15 to pull the Icemen to within one.
But that was as close as the Yetis would come.
Connor Birmingham made it 5-3 Saanich at 8:04 of the third, then Scott Henderson took the worry out of being close with an empty-netter at 18:46 to secure the win for the South Division leading Braves.
Marcus Gloss took the loss while Riley Mathieson posted the win. Fushimi (1g, 2a) and Horvath (1g, 2a) led the Braves’ attack while Ahola (1g, 1a) and Jackson Gibson (2a) were the top Yeti point getters.
The Glacier Kings (12-5-0-1), sitting second in the North Division, return to action Friday, Nov. 4 in Campbell River hoping to gain ground on the first place Storm (16-3-0-0), whom they trail by seven points. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Rod Brind’Amour Arena.
The Icemen are home this Saturday, Nov. 5 when they host the Nanaimo Buccaneers. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at Comox Valley Sports Centre Arena #1.
ICE CHIPS The G-Kings killed all three Saanich power plays and held league-leading scorer Guerra (22g, 12a) to just two helpers … Withey is fourth in league scoring with 25 points (13g, 12a) through 17 games …