Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart - ISN: Andrew White's goal with 4:41 to go in the third period was the difference, as the Saanich Braves defeated the Westshore Wolves 3-2 in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action Wednesday night at Bear Mountain Arena in Victoria.
The Braves, who were beginning a streak of three games in three days, went with Tanner McGaw in net, while the Wolves answered with Alec Dillon, who was fresh off a 6-0 shut-out over Nanaimo last Saturday.
Both goalies were perfect in the first period, as the Braves outshot the Wolves 11-9, with a number of those shots coming on a power play late in the period. Dillon was solid however and the teams finished the first 20 minutes tied at zeroes.
The Braves would get things started quickly in the second, as Sam McMullen would chip in a Nick Guerra rebound just 27 seconds into the period to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. That lead would be short-lived however as the Wolves would capitalize on a Liam Sproule tripping penalty to tie things up. Kayle Ramsay picked up a failed Braves clearing attempt, walked in off the wing and slipped the power-play marker past McGaw at the 5:49 mark.
Westshore's Alec Dillon would be strong in the first period, stopping all 11 shots he faced (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Kayle Ramsay would score Westshore's first goal, tying the game on the power play in the second period (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Wolves would take the lead just four minutes later. After a close chance on Dillon, defenceman Chris McDonald would flip the puck up to a streaking Josh Bloomenthal, who would fly down the wing and find Clay Carson driving to the net. Carson would chip the shot over McGaw's shoulder to give the Wolves a 2-1 lead.
The Braves had two glorious chances to get even before the break as Cody Short found himself on a breakaway and Nick Guerra was left all alone in front, but neither player could pull the trigger and the Wolves took a 2-1 lead to the intermission.
In the third, the Braves took over the play and while the Wolves had a couple of good chances, they could only muster 7 shots on McGaw and would not score again. Meanwhile the Wolves would pay for some penalty trouble, as Josh Gray would get the equalizer at the 5:42 mark of the period on the power-play, when he took a nice feed from Ty Jones and one-timed it past Dillon.
Westshore's Clay Carson would net the Wolves second goal Wedensday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Braves would get another power-play at the 13:08 mark and although they did not score, they kept the play in the Wolves end and just 8 seconds after the penalty was over, Andrew White found a rebound and blasted it past Dillon from a sharp angle with 4:41 to go, to give the Braves the 3-2 lead.
The Wolves Josh Bloomenthal would be denied on this break in attempt in the third (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Saanich's Tanner McGaw would stop 23 of 25 shots for the win Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Wolves kept battling and pulled their goalie with over a minute remaining, but could not find the equalizer and the Braves escaped with the 3-2 win.
Saanich Coach Brad Cook was relived to come away with the win, "I don't think we were great the first half of the game, but we squeaked it out. We got better and scored a couple of timely goals in the third. It was not pretty but it was good to respond to the loss we had last week with a win tonight."
Unlike last Friday's game where the Braves had to kill 11 penalties, they faced only one shorthanded situation tonight and ironically the Wolves scored on it. "Yes we were 100% tonight I guess, but I'll take that," said Cook. "The boys were really disciplined and kept their sticks down and when we stay out of the box, we can keep rolling our lines, keep the flow going and it makes a huge difference."
Saanich's Josh Gray scored the tying goal at the 5:42 mark of the third on the power play (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Game Notes: The Braves outshot the Wolves 27-25. Saanich heads to Nanaimo Thursday night and then hosts Kerry Park Friday to complete their 3 in 3 set this week. The new Westshore Wolves mascot was in attendance last night and he is looking for a name. Please visit the Wolves website for contest details.
Saanich's Andrew White would score the game winner in the third period (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)