News Stories

Braves Go Down Fighting, Fall to Comox in OT

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart  - The Saanich Braves battled hard, but a goal from Comox's Duncan Pernal at 2:44 of overtime gave the Glacier Kings a 3-2 win Monday evening in VIJHL playoff action at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.

The win gave the Glacier Kings a sweep of the opening round VIJHL playoff series four games to none and broke the hearts of the Braves, who had played perhaps their best game in the past two months.



Glacier Kings Overpower Braves 7-2

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart -  The Comox Valley Glacier KIngs used four powerplay goals to cruise to a 7-2 win over the Saanich Braves in Game 2 of their VIJHL playoff series Thursday night at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.

The win gives Comox a 2-0 lead in the series with Game 3 scheduled to be back in Comox on Saturday evening.

The Glacier Kings scored early in this one, as just 3:17 in, Dallas Maxwell would walk out from the corner and fire Comox's first shot high glove side on Saanich goaltender Jason Stewart for the 1-0 lead.



Braves Drop Game 1 to Comox 4-1

Story by Christian J. Stewart - The Comox Valley Glacier Kings used three second period goals to skate to a 4-1 win over the Saanich Braves in Game 1 of their VIJHL playoff series in Comox on Tuesday evening.

The score disguises the fact that the Braves, buoyed by the return of Fraser Sutherland, Wade Bartlett, James Sneddon and Garrett Stankoven to the line-up, caused the Glacier Kings a great deal of concern over the first half of the game, holding them to just 5 shots in period one and 10 shots on goal through the mid-point of the second period and also holding a 1-0 lead at the 8:24 mark, when Jake Daughtry walked out of the corner and wristed one past surprise Comox starter Blake Pearson.

That lead would not hold for long however, as at the 9:04 mark, after a big save from Saanich goaltender Jason Stewart, who then looked to have covered the puck with his right pad on the post, Comox's Eric Margo stuffed it home and the game was tied 1-1.

The turning point in the game then came late in that period, when the Glacier Kings scored two quick goals to jump into a 3-1 lead.  First, at 16:56, Dallas Maxwell walked out from behind the net and beat Stewart with a perfect shot to the top corner. 

Just 31 seconds later, Grant Iles sped in off the right wing and went bar down on Stewart, the perfectly placed shot giving the Glacier Kings command of the game.  That score held to the intermission. Shots at the break were 22-10 for Comox.

In the third, the Braves once again defensively stymied the Glacier Kings, holding them once again to just 5 shots on goal, but one of those was a tip by Maxwell of a Taylor Derynck howitzer from the point that gave the Kings some insurance with the 4-1 lead.

The Braves for their part battled hard, but could not put any of their 7 shots past Pearson and the Kings came away with the 4-1 win.  Final shots on goal for the game were 27-17 for Comox.

Saanich Head Coach Brad Cook was optimistic despite the loss. "It was a solid effort by the guys.  Other than the second half of the second period, we stayed with Comox the whole way.  We need to play like that and stay within our structure for the full 60 minutes, have a bit more composure on our odd man chances, and get more pucks to the Comox net and we can have success against them."

Three stars as selected by Comox were Dallas Maxwell (1st), Eric Margo (2nd) and Grant Iles (3rd).

Game 2 in the series goes Thursday night at Pearks Arena in Saanich. Note it is an early start time of 6:00 PM.  


Braves Open Playoffs Against Comox Valley on Tuesday

Story by Christian J. Stewart - The Saanich Braves will open their 2014 VIJHL playoff season against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Tuesday, thanks to the Kings 4-3 OT win Saturday night over Nanaimo that gave Comox a one-point advantage over Campbell River for first in the North.

The hard-charging Storm also won their game Saturday against Oceanside 4-2, but they needed a win and a Comox loss to re-claim first place. They will now face the Nanaimo Buccaneers in the first round. In the South, the Victoria Cougars will play the Kerry Park Islanders - 5-2 winners over the Braves Saturday - and the Westshore Wolves will face the Peninsula Panthers.

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For the Braves, the playoffs mean just one thing - a chance to put the regular season behind them and find a way to have success in the post-season. "When it all comes down to it, it is our chance to literally and figuratively turn the page," said Braves Head Coach Brad Cook.

"If I asked my team in September if at the end of the year, would they like to play Campbell River or Comox in the playoffs, I think all our guys would have said "sure!" So really, that is where we are. It's a new season and we have a chance, if all the guys dig a litter deeper and we get the breaks we haven't got all season, to have some success moving forward."

The Braves will be going up against a Comox team that seems to be gelling just at the right time of the year, as they started slowly, but have made a significant run of late, winning their final six games of the season to overtake Campbell River and clinch the North by the single point over the Storm.

For the Braves to succeed against the Glacier Kings, they will have to find a way to shut down Comox leading scorers Duncan Pernal and Ali Gotmy who have 29 and 22 goals respectively, as well as the Glacier Kings setup defenceman Derian Hamilton who leads the team with 37 assists. They will also need to find a way to solve Glacier King goaltender Michael Hails whose .931 save percentage was the tops in the VIJHL this season and whose goals against average of 2.28, was third best behind the Cougar's Connor Beauchamp and Nathan Hargrave.

To solve Hails, the Braves are going to need to rely on leading scorer Jake Daughtry, as well as a second player that came to the Braves from the Cougars at the trading deadline, Nyshan Basra, to continue their recent offensive success. Basra, an 18-year old forward from Surrey, seems to be finding his way with the Braves and has scored five goals in the last four games, while Daughtry (13G, 27A) is also beginning to contribute, scoring two goals and four assists in the last four games.

The Braves will also need to step up some of their secondary scoring from the likes of rookies Josh Poland (second on the team in goals with 11), Hunter Atchison and Evan Horvath, and hope that forwards Jack Rachwalski and Cam MacKay, both recently back into the Braves line-up after injury, can provide some new energy on the front end.

Defensively, the Braves will be led by veterans Jordan Groenhyde and Liam Sproule, both of whom have received the lion's share of minutes this season, along with 18-year old Chris Carpentier, and rookies Mackenzie Valentine, both of whom have performed well on the back end this season.

Those defencemen, as well as rear guards Tom Dakers and Garrett Stankoven, will be assigned to protect Braves goaltender Jason Stewart, who is still adapting to life in the VIJHL after joining the Braves in mid-January after the departure of both Matt Rud and Jordan Werezak. While Stewart has played admirably for the Braves, he will need to raise his game to the next level as well, to combat the high-powered Comox offence.

The Braves have been playing much better as a team lately, keeping games close and losing 4 of their last six games by just a single goal, something they had not done since early January in securing their last win of the year, a 4-3 decision over Kerry Park. They will need to continue that effective team play and catch a few breaks and bounces if they wish to succeed against the Glacier Kings.

The Glacier KIngs and Braves will kick things off in Comox on Tuesday evening with Game 1 at 7:00 PM, while Game 2 is back at Pearkes Arena in Saanich on Thursday at 6:00 PM (note the earlier home start time than usual). The full round 1 schedule is as follows:

  • Game 1: Tuesday February 18, 7:00 PM @Comox
  • Game 2: Thursday February 20, 6:00 PM @Saanich
  • Game 3: Saturday February 22, 7:30 PM @Comox
  • Game 4: Monday February 24, 6:00 PM @Saanich
  • Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday February 25, 7:45 PM @Comox
  • Game 6 (if necessary): TBA (Likely Thursday February 27, 6:00 PM @Saanich)
  • Game 7 (if necessary): Friday February 28, 7:30 PM @Comox



STANDINGS: Comox – 1st place in North, 2nd Overall (31-14-1-2), 65 points. Saanich – 5th place in South, 8th Overall (11-34-1-2), 25 points

OFFENSE: Comox – 5th place, 177 goals total (3.69 goals per game). Saanich – 8th place, 112 goals (2.33 goals per game).

DEFENSE: Comox – 3rd place, (3.12 goals against per game). Saanich – 9th place, (4.71 goals against per game)

TEAM LEADERS: Comox – Duncan Pernal (29G, 31A), Ali Gotmy (22G, 33A), Derian Hamilton (10G, 37A); Saanich - Jake Daughtry (13G, 27A), Hunter Atchison (9G, 9A), Josh Poland (11G, 6A), Nyshan Basra (8G, 5A).

GOALTENDERS: Comox – Michael Hails (19-6, 2.28 GAA, .931 SV%), Blake Pearson (12-6, 3.17 GAA, .875 SV%). Saanich – Jason Stewart (0-6, 4.22GAA, .857 SV%)

POWER PLAY: Comox – 7th place, 41 for 271, 15.13 percent. Saanich – 8th place, 31-for-306, 10.13 percent

PENALTY KILL: Comox – 7th place, 211 for 266, 79.32 percent. Saanich – 8th place, 207 for 264, 78.41 percent

SEASON SERIES: Comox leads series, 3-1-0-0


  • September 20, 2013. Comox 5 @ Saanich 2
  • October 5, 2013. Saanich 7 @ Comox 2
  • November 1, 2013. Comox 5 @ Saanich 2
  • January 18, 2014. Saanich 0 @ Comox 7

One-Goal-itis Plagues Braves Again

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart - For the fourth time in their last five games, the Saanich Braves came out on the short end of a one-goal hockey game, this time dropping a 3-2 decision to the Oceanside Generals in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey action Friday night at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.

The loss spoiled a touching Valentine's night ceremony that was held prior to the game for the Junior Brave's Moms and billet Mom's, as well as a special pre-game ceremony that honoured former Brave and current San Jose Shark, Matt Irwin. The Braves presented Irwin with a framed #44 jersey as well as a banner bearing that number that will be hung from the rafters at Pearkes Arena.

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