Ty Jones potted two goals and an assist as the Saanich Braves won their seventh straight game on Friday

Ty Jones potted two goals and an assist as the Saanich Braves won their seventh straight game on Friday

Brave new waves: Saanich rock the Island league for seven straight

Game night Dec. 2: Braves host Comox Valley Glacier Kings, 6:30 p.m. at Pearkes Arena.

Game night Dec. 2:

Braves host Comox Valley Glacier Kings, 6:30 p.m. at Pearkes Arena.

This, that and everything has the Saanich Braves rolling through the Island’s junior hockey league on a seven-game win streak, unbeaten throughout the month of November.

Coach Brad Cook is so enthusiastic with the way his team has come together, he can’t point to anything that isn’t going well right now.

“I’ve told the guys it’s OK if we stumble, as long as we don’t fall. After you win seven or more – however long it goes – the next step (once the streak ends) is not to go out and lose seven of the next 10.”

But losing is the last thing on this team’s mind. The stretch began with the team’s annual Pink in the Rink breast cancer fundraiser back on Oct. 30, a 5-3 win over the Victoria Cougars.

It was the second night of a home-and-home series with the Cougars, who were the Braves’ latest victims on Friday (Nov. 25). That game ended 4-2 with a brawl that saw eight player ejections. It was a show of frustration from the Cougars though they retained the league’s best record.

Of course there are a few key elements the Braves couldn’t do without. Goalie Tanner McGaw is in top form. The rookies are developing quickly, with Jack Palmer (25 points) and Connor Krupa (21 points) averaging more than a point per game. And perhaps most important, captain Ty Jones has racked up a multi-point game for every win during the streak, totalling 30 points in the last 12 games.

Overall, the team is buying every little thing Cook’s been preaching about.

“All our systems — team defence, guys back-checking, puck management — they’re sticking to it.”

Saying the Braves’ dressing room is a fun place to be right now is an understatement, Cook added.

“It’s the time of their lives. The biggest thing I like is it’s 100 per cent about the team. We don’t have any one guy pulling in a different direction.”

Cook knows a thing or two about upbeat junior dressing rooms.

The Michigan native was on the “stacked” 1993-94 Detroit Jr. Red Wings in the Ontario Hockey League that finished second overall during the regular season and was defeated in the finals by the North Bay Centennials. The Jr. Red Wings were owned by current Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, and was coached by Paul Maurice with Jim Rutherford as general manager. It’s the same triangle of management that was only broken up Monday when Maurice was relieved as head coach of the Hurricanes.

Cook was cut in 1995, but found his way to the Vernon Vipers where he won an RBC Cup.

He said his first step since returning to the Braves this year after a season away was teaching the team how to win.

“We lost about six one-goal hockey games and our third periods were our worst periods. Now it’s like, where do we go from here? It’s only November. So we’re taking these things in steps.”

It’s about a mix of young guys finding their game and older guys getting back to theirs.

“The younger guys were away at BCHL and WHL camps to start the year. They’re working their butts off all summer to make those other teams and when we finally get them they’re in great shape. It’s the 18-, 19- and 20-year-old guys who take a couple of months to get in shape. They’re working full time, some live on their own, and they’re playing out their junior years. They’re not as fit over the summer but they know they’re going to be the better players in this league once they find their game.”

General manager and part owner Norm Kelly has been with the team for four years. The biggest win streak in that time was six in a row in 2009, also with Cook as head coach.

“This is the best year in terms of focus, drive and player dedication since I’ve been here,” Kelly said. “There are no bad apples, the guys love being together, they’re very self-motivated and want to succeed.”

It means all kinds of options for Cook, who relishes having four lines he can rely on, with rookies he can play in any situation. Because the Braves started so poorly (2-7), they’d need to extend the streak a couple more weeks before they’ll be anywhere close to the Cougars for first in the south division.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read