The first-place Saanich Braves are off to a romping start in the Island’s junior B hockey league and it should come as no surprise.
On Sunday the Braves moved to 7-0-1 in eight games with a 5-4 matinee win over the Kerry Park Islanders. The single loss came in overtime against the Peninsula Panthers.
“There is a confidence that we can come back and win games, where as last year it took us four to five months,” said second-year head coach Sam Waterfield, who was named VIJHL coach of the year in 2017-18.
The team sits atop all nine teams in the VIJHL standings with 22 points, seven points clear of the Victoria Cougars in the south division. At this point last year the Braves were 3-5, a third of the way through a mediocre start of 10 wins in the first 25 games. Things changed with a couple of mid-season additions and the Braves finished on run of 16-4-1-2 to claim first place in the South division. Then came a wild playoff ride that ended in Game 7 of the VIJHL final.
BRAVES WIN!!! pic.twitter.com/JmCNjkbP6i
— Saanich Braves Jr. B (@SaanichBraves) September 29, 2018
With 15 players returning from last year’s team, this team knows how to win, Waterfield said.
“When you have that veteran presence in the dressing room, and with the systems in place, the guys already know what they’re doing earlier rather then later,” Waterfield said.
“When you return the group we had last year it’s a big advantage compared to last year,” Waterfield said. “We didn’t know how to win games, we lost a lot of one and two goal games, but this year we know how to win.”
Tickets the Braves’ Friday night game (Oct. 5) against the Victoria Cougars are available before hand for only $5 through Soap for Hope. At Friday’s game Soap for Hope will be hosting a 50/50 Raffle, a Chuck-a-Puck contest with two Stormtech jackets from TeamSales, and a raffle contest (bring a hygiene product donation to enter for a prize). Tickets available by emailing Bryce Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 250-590-1462.