The Comox Valley Glacier Kings’ and Nanaimo Buccaneers’ battle for home-ice advantage in the first round of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs is going right down to the wire.
Currently tied for second place in the North Division, both teams have two RS games remaining, including a big four-pointer Thursday night in Nanaimo.
It’s almost a must-win for the Yetis, who face North Division powerhouse Campbell River Storm in their final league game while the Bucs face North cellar-dwellers Oceanside Generals in their last league tilt.
Dates and locations of all four best-of-seven opening round series are TBA, but the post-season gets underway Feb. 16 with the wild card play-in game as the North #4 Generals take on the South #5 Peninsula Panthers in Victoria.
The winner of that game will meet the Storm. Other first-round match-ups include Comox Valley vs. Nanaimo, Saanich Braves vs. Westshore Wolves and Victoria Cougars vs. Kerry Park Islanders.
The Glacier Kings played four games in five days last week, winning just one. But that was a big one as they beat the Bucs in OT to keep the race for second place in the North alive.
The tough string began Feb. 5 with an 8-2 loss to the Cougars in Victoria. On Feb. 7 the Yetis edged Nanaimo 5-4 in overtime with the Green Men present at the Comox Valley Sports Centre. On Feb. 8 the Icemen fell 5-1 to the Storm in Campbell River, and on Feb. 9 the Generals surprised the G-Kings 6-4 in a Monday matinee in Courtenay.
The third period was the difference on Feb. 9 as the Generals blew open a 3-3 tie with three straight goals. Austin McNeil got one back for the home team in the final minute, but it was far too little, far too late as Oceanside posted just their seventh win of the season.
ICE CHIPS Liam Shaw and Dylan Sampson scored for the Glacier Kings against Victoria … Grant Iles was the OT hero against Nanaimo … affiliate player Grayden McInnes had the lone goal against the Storm … there was a larger-than-usual Saturday night crowd at the Sports Centre when the Green Men dropped by on their Farewell Tour …