Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart - The Saanich Braves used a hat-trick from Max Mois to cruise to a 5-2 victory over the Westshore Wolves on Sunday afternoon at Bear Mountain Arena in Game 4 of their VIJHL first round playoff series.
The win gives the Braves a commanding 3-1 series lead, with a chance to close things out at home on Tuesday evening at Pearkes Arena.
After the fireworks and bad blood that ended Friday's game at Saanich, it was anticipated that Sunday's match up would be rife with tension, however much of that was diffused by the VIJHL with a series of suspensions handed out as a result of the hit and injury Friday to Westshore's Chase Kaiser.
First for Saanich, Josh McGladery was handed a three-game suspension for his hit on Kaiser, after a video review by the league. For Westshore, Joel Gordon was assessed a 1-game suspension for shoving the linesman in the melee that followed the hit and teammate Kayle Ramsay was assessed a 2-game suspension for inappropriate Tweets after the game that allegedly threatened revenge in Sunday's match.
The suspensions, not to mention the injury to Kaiser, seemed to take more of a toll on the Wolves' Sunday, as missing three top players, they came out flat and ended up trailing 4-0 after two periods of play, getting outshot 32-16 in the process.
Cole Golka and Max Mois led the way for the Braves with a pair of goals each, both of Golka's coming on the powerplay. Mois' second and the Braves fourth, was perhaps the prettiest goal of the night as the shifty Garett Kemmler made a great move past a Wolves defenceman and fed a beautiful pass to Mois who one-timed it into the net.
That fourth goal spelled the end of the night for Wolve's starter Matt Chester, as he was replaced by Alec Dillon for the remainder of the game.
In the third period, the Braves would find themselves in penalty trouble, taking four straight and allowing the Wolves an extended 5-on-3 man advantage. The Wolves would capitalize on this with a goal from Josh Bloomenthal at the 9:02 mark, spoiling Tanner McGaw's bid for a shut-out.
The Braves would get that back just two minutes later however when Mois would complete his hat-trick with a nice wrap around goal that beat Dillon to the post.
The Wolves would have one last gasp, when Travis Oickle would complete a nice 2 on 1 chance at 18:03, but that would be as close as they would come, final score 5-2 for the Braves.
Game 5 in the series will go Tuesday night at Pearkes Arena in Saanich. 7:30 pm puck drop. Should Game 6 be needed, it will go Thursday night back at Bear Mountain at 7:30 pm.