Story By Mike Beelby - Mill Bay, BC - The Saanich Braves Jr. B hockey club travelled to Kerry Park on the weekend to participate in a pre-season exhibition tournament and came away with a win, loss and a tie in their three game set.
In the first day (Saturday) of the annual exhibition tournament which is hosted by the Kerry Park Islanders, the Saanich Braves split the first two games of the pre-season tournament.
Early in the day the Braves played the Peninsula Panthers in a game that feautured many things such as a fight by Seamus Maguire, spectacular goaltending by returning goaltender Bowman Rutledge and a pair of goals by sixteen year old rookie Nick Guerra that all helped the Braves to a 5-2 win.
In Saturday evening's affair, the Braves, who were shorthanded due to players attending Jr. A and other camps, had to play a rough and tough game with the host Islanders. The Braves started quite slow and it cost them the game. It took just 2 minutes and 21 seconds for the Islanders to score, as Owen Rowsell beat Rutledge for the1-0 lead. Just 81 seconds later Kyle Peterson did the same thing, with an assist from Colton Burt. With about two minutes left Alex Milligan walked in from the slot on the powerplay and beat Rutledge low glove side to give the Islanders a 3-0 lead through the 1st. The Braves went 0/2 on the powerplay and killed 3 out of 4 on the penalty kill.
Early on in the second, rookie Nick Guerra scored his first of the game, and third of the day carrying over from the Peninsula outing. Guerra buried a rebound in the crease, off a shot that 20 year old Andrew White shot from the circle. This was all that really took place in the middle frame, shots about even and the penalties were 2-1 for Kerry Park.
With 8:31 left in regulation, Brandon Parmar took a point shot, and off an unusual play in front of the net, Graham Cronk and Sam Johnston were battling in front of the net and Johnston buried it passed Kerry Park goaltender Justin Samra - a graduate of Saanich Minor Hockey - who played very solid between the pipes in the last half of the game.
Roughly a minute later a miniature brawl occured, as former Brave Alex Wong hit a Saanich forward and jumped him near the blueline, with Wong receiving a 5 minute roughing major. Just as that fiasco was ending Kyle Nicholson jumped another Saanich player in Cody Short, but Short was also given a 5 minute fighting major and a game misconduct. The Braves could not score on the five-minute Powerplay, even with a 1:31 of two man advantage.
With 1:41 remaining the Braves scored to make it 3-2, but the Islanders would seal the deal as Alex Milligan took a Kyle Peterson pass and scored from behind the red line and bounced it in to make the final 4-2 Islanders.
On Sunday, the Braves met up with the newly formed Westshore Wolves and by all accounts this was an entertaining game, ending in a 3-3 tie. Rookies Seamus Maguire and Nick Guerra continued to impress, each scoring a goal.
The Braves will now continue their exhibition battles with the Wolves, playing them again Wednesday night at Bear Mountain Arena and again on Friday at Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena in a charity fundraiser for Cops for Cancer. Both games begin at 7:30pm.