Saanich Braves captain Jake Wilhelm will return to the lineup for the VIJHL semifinals against the Nanaimo Buccaneers after missing the final three games of the first round due to illness. Dustin Robirtis photo

Saanich Braves advance to semifinals against Nanaimo Buccaneers

Braves eliminate Kerry Park in five games with 6-0 win on Tuesday

The Saanich Braves have advanced to the VIJHL semifinals for the first time in five years after eliminating the Kerry Park Islanders on Tuesday.

Saanich, which finished third overall (26-19-2-1) in the regular season, will face the second-place Nanaimo Buccaneers (37-9-0-2) starting Monday in Nanaimo. The top seed Campbell River Storm will face the winner of the Victoria Cougars and Westshore Wolves, who were tied 2-2 going into Game 5 of their series on Wednesday night.

On Tuesday, Saanich peppered the Islanders with 60 shots and a 6-0 win to take the best-of-seven series in five games.

Defenceman Elliott MacIssac scored the first two goals, one on the powerplay. Michael Sproule, Zach Guerra (powerplay), Trevor Owens (powerplay) and Ryan Strange (shorthanded) also scored.

Goalie Riley Mathieson lived up to his billing as VIJHL league MVP as he stopped 168 of 174 shots for a 1.17 goals against average and playoff leading .966 save percentage.

“[Mathieson] played well, he made the saves he had to, but defensively we didn’t give [the Islanders] many Grade A chances,” said Braves first-year coach Sam Waterfield. “Kerry Park likes to shoot the puck a lot and they did, but with Riley, shots from the outside are pretty routine for him.”

That’s not to say Mathieson wasn’t good when he needed to be. In the times Kerry Park did bring the pressure, Mathieson was solid and gave the Braves a chance to find their game, Waterfield said.

The series was tied 1-1 when it changed in the Braves favour as the team took a more disciplined approach in Game 3. The Braves ended up with a one-sided amount of powerplays and capitalized on them too.

“In Game 3 the refs made it a point they weren’t going to let anything happen after the whistle, and we realized if we played the right way we’d get powerplays,” Waterfield said. “Once we started controlling our temper and eating a couple of shots, it helped us take control of the series.”

The six-day break is a welcome respite for captain Jake Wilhelm who missed the final three games of the series with an illness but will be back for Monday.

Midget Braves win Island title

The Saanich Braves Midget T1 team won its fifth straight Island title over the weekend, defeating the midget Nanaimo Clippers 7-2 at Pearkes to sweep the best-of-three Island final.

The bigger, older Nanaimo team defeated the Braves 5-3 during the round robin. So the Braves responded in the finals by playing a faster, skilled game without worrying about the physical element of the game and won 5-1 in Game 1, said coach Ian Birnie.

Birnie has been coaching with the Braves Midget Tier 1 team for eight years, and has been at the helm for all five straight Island titles.

The team has rallied around captain Spencer Golden, who is part of the core that’s now been to provincials three years in a row. Eleven of the players are eligible to return next year.

The Braves are headed to Fort St. John for the Tier 1 Midget provincials, March 17 to 24.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Greater Victoria School District adopts new dress code policy

Two years in the making, SD61 moves to more inclusionary guidelines

Esquimalt council green-lights first mass-timber building on Vancouver Island

Mayor appreciates 12-storey structure’s proximity to naval base, graving dock and Seaspan

Legal action against B.C. specualtion tax a last resort

Group of Arizona home owners feel they’ve been swept up in an attack on land speculators

Sooke makes call for regional fire dispatch

Some municipalities decide to take service off-Island

Rock the Rink gives youth once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Winning band will get to play a set at Rock the Shores

Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

Amalgamation Yes hosting citizen’s assembly info meeting Wednesday at Vic High

Mayors of Victoria and Saanich will be on hand to give updates to residents

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

UPDATE: Saanich cracks down on owners of unsightly property

Council’s decision came despite public pleas from affected owners

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of April 24

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

Public can weigh in on Cordova Bay Local Area Plan

The District of Saanich is in the process of updating the Cordova… Continue reading

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

Most Read