News Stories

Braves Salvage Week With Win Over Kerry Park

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart - After losing to the Westshore Wolves 6-0 on Wednesday and battling the Nanaimo Buccaneers to a 1-1 draw Thursday, the Saanich Braves salvaged their three game week with a big 3-2 win over the Kerry Park Islanders in VIJHL action Friday night at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.

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Braves Split With Peninsula, Comox - Maguire Named VIJHL All-Star MVP for South

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.


Braves Win, Then Make Key Roster Moves at Trading Deadline

The Saanich Braves extended their win streak to five games last Saturday night (Jan. 10) with a 4-1 win over the Kerry Park Islanders, a win that vaulted the Braves into third place in the South Division of the VIJHL.

Leading the way for the Braves in the win were Ben Meek, who had a three point night with a goal and two assists, as well as Cameron Kovesdi and Evan Horvath who had a goal and an assist each. Goaltender Riley Mathieson stopped 27 or 28 shots to get his third win in a row with the Braves.

Also scoring for the Braves Saturday was newcomer Wil Finlay, who is one of two new faces that have joined the Braves at the Jan. 10 trading deadline.

Finlay finished last season with Comox, facing the Braves in round one of the playoffs. Prior to that, he played two seasons ago in Peninsula. Finlay is touted by Head Coach Brad Cook as a "great two-way player with speed, patience with the puck and who has the ability to chip in offensively."

Also joining the Braves is forward Nick Keane who has been acquired from the Kerry Park Islanders. Keane, who played for the Islanders in the game against the Braves last Saturday, has 11 goals and 12 assists in 37 games so far this season and can hopefully provide some additonal offence for the Braves down the stretch.

That offence could be important, as the Braves have also lost the services of leading scorer Nyshan Basra who had 21 goals and 19 assists in 28 games with the team this season. Basra had requested a move to the Lower Mainland so he could be closer to his family and the Braves accomodated him by moving him to the North Vancouver Wolfpack.

The Braves also learned that forward Nick Guerra, who has been with the Junior A Nanaimo Clippers, will not be returning to the club. Guerra was traded by the Clippers to the Prince George Spruce Kings at the deadline and will remain in the BCHL.

With the departure of Basra, Keane now becomes the Braves leading scorer and it is safe to say that the team will need both he and Finlay to produce right out of the gate in order for the team to have continued success. Finlay's goal Saturday was a good sign in this regard. They will also need to continue getting secondary scoring from the likes of Meek, Horvath, Jack Rachwalski and Hunter Atchison.

They also need to get healthy. Forwards Dayne Ellison and Seamus Maguire were out of the line-up again on Saturday and their veteran leadership could be important down the stretch.

With the roster moves, the Braves now have 21 carded players with two cards left. While the roster is now pretty much set, they can affiliate players up until Jan. 15 and can sign free additional free agents up until Feb. 10.

The game against Kerry Park was the first of five in a row that the Braves will spend on the road. Next up for the Braves are the Peninsula Panthers on Friday (Jan. 16) followed by a trip to Comox on Saturday (Jan. 17) to face the Glacier Kings.

The league then takes a brief break for the 2015 All-Star game in Comox on Sunday Jan. 18 where the Braves will be represented by Jack Rachwalski, Seamus Maguire and Ben Meek, who was announced as the replacement for Basra.

After the All-Star break, the Braves head to The Q Centre on Wednesday Jan. 21 for a game against Westshore, then to Nanaimo on Thursday Jan. 22 for a match with the Buccaneers. Saanich then returns home on Friday Jan. 23 for a 6:30 pm start with Kerry Park.


Braves Open 2015 With Pair of Wins

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart - The Saanich Braves have started 2015 in fine fashion with a pair of back-to-back wins, defeating the Peninsula Panthers 1-0 on New Year's Day at Panorama Recreation Centre and then following that up with a 6-1 thrashing of the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Friday night at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.

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Braves Head to Break With 2 Game Win Streak

The Saanich Braves will head into the Christmas break on a positive note, as they defeated the Peninsula Panthers 3-1 Friday night in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) action at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.

The win was the Braves second in a row, following an identical 3-1 score in a victory over the Kerry Park Islanders Wednesday night and improves the Braves record to 10-19-0-5. More importantly, they gain back some ground on third place Kerry Park and are now five points back of the Islanders in the South Division.

The Braves jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period before the Panthers would respond at the midway point and then secured an insurance marker in the second to round out the scoring. Saanich goals were scored by Ben Meek, Jack Rachwalski and Quinn Miller. Nyshan Basra had a pair of assists to stay atop the Braves scoring leader board. Former Brave Josh Poland replied for the visiting Panthers.

Brandon Ward got the start in net for the Braves and stopped 27 of 28 shots for the win, his first in his last five starts. Alex Olson stopped 20 of 23 for the Panthers in the losing effort.

The Panthers, who are struggling to stay ahead of the Oceanside Generals for the final playoff position in the VIJHL, fall to 7-26-0-1 and remain three points ahead of Oceanside.

The Braves are now off until New Years Day, when they travel up the Peninsula to the Panorama Recreation Centre to square off against the Panthers again in a 6:00 pm start.

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Sunday, February 15th
5:30-9:30 PM

DaVinci Centre
195 Bay Street

Tickets $45 each

Tickets available from:
Brad Cook 250-686-7725
Laura Peltier 250-588-2951
Purchase by Feb. 9th