The Saanich Braves host the Westshore Wolves for the Braves’ final regular season game on Friday, 6:30 p.m. at Pearkes.
Going into the last two games of the 48-game VIJHL regular season the Braves led the South division with 55 points, 25-16-2-3, with the fourth-place Wolves (22-21-1-1, 46 points) chasing the Victoria Cougars (21-19-2, 45) for third in the South (stats prior to Feb. 14 games).
The Braves topped the Wolves 7-1 in their Feb. 2, Pink in the Rink meet-up. Last week the Braves lost 6-5 to the Victoria Cougars on Thursday, then exploded for seven goals in the second period on Friday for an 8-3 win over the Nanaimo Buccaneers, followed by a 5-2 win over the Kerry Park Islanders on Saturday.
This year the VIJHL has changed the playoff format to a one-through-eight format. Instead of playing South and North divisional opponents until the final round, the first-overall Nanaimo Buccaneers (35-9-0-2) will play the eighth-place Oceanside Generals (18-22-1-5). For the first time since the league added the Bucaneers, there will be no wildcard game. That means the lowly Comox Valley Glacier Kings, with just four wins in 46 games, are out of the playoffs.
The overall third-place Braves will face the sixth-place team, which is likely to remain the sixth-place Wolves, though with 46 points the Wolves could mathematically catch the fourth-place Victoria Cougars (23-20-2-1, 49 points) or fifth-place Kerry Park Islanders (21-20-0-5, 47 points) in the final week.
This Friday’s regular season finale for the Braves is also a fundraiser for Soap for Hope, a local initiative that supplies 57 shelters on Vancouver Island with five-piece hygiene kits. The local non-profit is selling Braves tickets ahead of Friday for a discount of just $5 each, compared to the normal price of $9 for adults, $7 for seniors.
The Friday night game will have a variety of raffle prizes from Starbucks, Bean Around the World, Jackson’s Ice Cream, Whole Foods, Coastline Skate and Surf, and more. Just bring a hygiene product donation with ticket to be enter.
There’s also a 50/50 raffle and Cups of Hope, which cost $20. Some are winning mugs with gift cards.
The Chuck a Puck contest will have a four pack of HarbourCats tickets for any game in the 2018 season, four ice cream items at Jackson’s Ice Cream and a $20 dollar gift card to The Joint Pizzeria.
To order Soap for Hope tickets to the Braves’ Feb. 16 game call 250-331-3353 during the week. They can be picked up at 426 William St., between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday this week. Tickets are also available at the door.