Braves look to regain form for playoffs

It’s been a roller coaster season for most teams in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League this year, the Saanich Braves included

It’s been a roller coaster season for most teams in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League this year.

It usually is.

Saanich Braves coach Brad Cook, for one, is thrilled the ride is over.

(See preview of Island League’s wild card game on Sunday here.)

The second-place Braves (30-14-3) will face the third-place Westshore Wolves (27-19-1) in the first round of the South division playoffs starting next week. The first-place Victoria Cougars (44-1-1) will face the fourth-place Peninsula Panthers (21-23-3).

Two months ago the Braves would have been the automatic favourite to win the first round series but now they’re closer to being the underdog, having limped through January with three wins in 11 games.

On the bright side, the Braves did win three of its first four games in February. But the only loss was also the Braves’ fourth straight to the expansion Wolves.

Therefore it’s the Wolves who are the favourite, despite sitting eight points back of the Braves with one game left in the season.

“I’ve had a lineup on paper that I’ve wanted to see hit the ice all season and I’m finally seeing it now,” Cook said. “We’re collectively healthy, for the most part, which is a huge step.”

Officially, the first game with the desired lineup was a 5-4 loss to the Wolves on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

“We took the loss hard because we didn’t perform well, we lost with 40 seconds to go but we had no business being in that hockey game anyways,” Cook said.

Still, the Braves feel their chances are good. They bounced back with an 8-3 win over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings thanks to production from all three scoring lines, Cook said.

He also pointed to the fourth line, or grind line of Seamus Maguire, Josh McGladdery and Sam Johnston, for doing a fantastic job on the penalty kill.

“They give us that push back when we need it. They don’t always produce but do their job to a T.”

The Cougars and not-so-sweetheart rivals Braves meet Feb. 14, 7 p.m. at Archie Browning Sports Centre for a Valentines Day finale to the regular season.

The Wolves closed the season out Wednesday night with a 4-2 win over the Panthers at Bear Mountain Arena.

sports@vicnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Two missing Victoria children found safe

VicPD responded to two separate missing children calls Tuesday

Saanich amalgamation committee holds first meeting

Saanich councillors call for a transparent process to ensure success of study

Crews repair damage after Tuesday night water main break in Langford

Flooding resulted in property damage, forced evacuation from Langford homes

Snow not melting fast enough for some Greater Victoria residents

Resident unhappy with lack of snow removal on Mount Doug trails

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Police dog tracks suspect through wintry Vancouver Island backcountry

Assault suspect arrested after two-hour track by Nanaimo RCMP police dog Jager

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

Most Read