Saanich, BC - It was a busy few days for three Saanich Braves last weekend, as Seamus Maguire, Jack Rachwalski and Ben Meek represented the Braves for the South Division at the 2015 VIJHL All-Star Game that was held in Comox on Sunday Jan. 18.
Their involvement in the game came on the heels of back-to-back games that the Braves played on Friday Jan. 16 - a 6-3 loss to the Peninsula Panthers - and on Saturday Jan. 17 - a 5-3 win over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
The fatigue factor did not seem to influence Maguire, as the 19-year old forward scored the first two goals of the game for the South Division Sunday in what ended up as a 6-4 win for the North. For his efforts, which also included an assist, Maguire was named the South Division MVP for the game.
Meek also had an assist in the game, while Rachwalski, normally a forward for the Braves, played a solid game on defence for the South, as well as served as an Alternate Captain.
While Meek and Rachwalski did not factor heavily in the All-Star game outcome, they did play a vital role in the Braves 5-3 win over Comox on Saturday night Jan. 17, as Meek had a pair of goals and Rachwalski netted one, to lead the Braves to the win.
Meek's two goals came in a three-goal second period for the Braves that saw them take command of a game that was tied 2-2 at the first intermission.
Also scoring for Saanich was Nick Keane, his first goal with the Braves since joining the club at the trading deadline, as well as Jordan Parmar, with his fifth of the season.
Riley Mathieson continued his stellar play for the Braves between the pipes, earning his fourth win in a row and stopping 22 of 25 shots in the winning effort.
On Friday night Jan. 16, the Braves would not be so lucky, as they came up against the upward streaking Peninsula Panthers, who, counting their win over Oceanside on Saturday Jan. 17, have now won four in a row and are slowly making up ground on the fourth place Kerry Park Islanders in the South.
The Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead, only to see the Braves tie it up by the second intermission on goals from Garrett Stankoven and Hunter Atchison.
The Panthers then woke up in the third, scoring four times, en route to the eventual 6-3 win. Atchison, with his second of the game, scored the Braves final goal and with an earlier assist, was named the game's second star.
Brandon Ward got the start between the pipes and surrendered all six goals on 39 shots to take the loss, his 17th of the season and first in his last three starts.
With the split, the Braves move their record to 14-20-0-5 and they remain in third place in the South, three points up on Kerry Park, who have lost eight in a row, and six points up on the streaking Panthers.
The Braves now gear up for a busy week as they travel to The Q Centre tonight (Jan. 21) to face the Westshore Wolves (7:00 pm) and then hit the road to Nanaimo on Thursday Jan. 22 for a 7:15 tilt with the Buccaneers. They return home Friday Jan. 23 for their third game in three days, as the Islanders come to town. Puck drop at Pearkes Arena for that one is 6:30 pm.