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Braves take 2-0 lead on Westshore Wolves, Cougars open series with Panthers
Rookie Seamus Maguire provided the magic as the Saanich Braves won 3-2 in overtime against the Westshore Wolves at Bear Mountain Arena on Wednesday night.
“I came off the bench, chipped it over two of their D-men’s sticks and all of a sudden I was by myself,” said Maguire, a Grade 12 student at Reynolds secondary. “I was a little wide on the net so I tried to go back hand and it went far side top corner. It was a little bit of a hope but that’s what I was trying for.”
The Braves now have a 2-0 lead in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoff South division semifinal series.
Game 3 is Friday night, 6:30 p.m. at Pearkes arena.
Tonight (Feb. 21) the Victoria Cougars open the South’s other semifinal series with the Peninsula Panthers, 7 p.m. at Archie Browning Sports Centre.
Maguire’s goal on Wednesday gives the Braves a much-needed cushion in the series as the team attempts to rediscover itself without Ty Jones, their captain and leading scorer of the last two years.
Jones exited the first period of Game 1 at Pearkes on Monday with a lower body injury and is out indefinitely. He returned later in the game for one shift and recorded an assist, but his injury was clearly too much.
“It's tough to lose Jones that early in the series,” Maguire said. “We have to pick up (what he brings to the team). We have so much depth we knew it was possible (tonight).”
Max Mois and Sam McMullen also scored for the Braves, while Clay Carson and Braedon Behan scored for the Wolves. All four regulation goals were in the second period.
The Braves out shot the Wolves 48-33 in total, though it was clear Tanner McGaw was the better goalie.
McGaw recovered to stop a rebound with a sprawling game-saver just prior to Maguire's goal.
“We squeaked out an ugly road win,” Braves coach Brad Cook said. “Some guys stepped up and made some great plays, McGaw made some phenomenal saves. But we didn’t have enough urgency throughout the 60 minutes.”
Cook wouldn’t specify what is wrong with Jones but it’s clearly a serious injury. Jones was on the bench with the coaching staff during the game.
“We have to move on and turn the page. Ty’s not anywhere close to being back,” Cook said.
While the Braves have survived so far without Jones, his loss is one that will be more evident over time. His absence will hinder the Braves greatly should the eliminate the Wolves and face the Cougars in the South division final.
Jones played 47 of 48 games in the regular season, and scored 90 points, 37 goals and 53 assists, third in the league behind Brody Coulter 118 and Sam Rice 96.
A Max Mois penalty shot goal with four minutes remaining stood as the winner of Game 1 on Monday as the Saanich Braves defeated the Westshore Wolves 4-2.
Elsewhere in the VIJHL: Comox Valley Glacier Kings lead the Oceanside Generals 2-0 and Nanaimo is up 1-0 over the wild card Kerry Park Islanders.