JUNIOR B: Braves bow out to Comox while Cougars, Panthers move ahead

Cougars face Oceanside at Archie Browning tonight, Peninsula host Comox Valley at Panorama, Friday night

Sam Johnston of the Saanich Braves moves towards the Comox Valley Glacier Kings' net during the first round VIJHL playoff series.

Sam Johnston of the Saanich Braves moves towards the Comox Valley Glacier Kings' net during the first round VIJHL playoff series.

For the second straight year the Saanich Braves were eliminated in the final game of their first-round Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoff series.

The Comox Valley Glacier Kings shutout Saanich 2-0 in Comox on Tuesday night, bringing an end to the Braves’ season.

Comox goalie Cam Waddington earned the shutout, stopping 25 shots.

“(Waddington) played well, we got to him throughout the series but he came up big (Tuesday) night,” Braves coach Robin Gomez said.

Mitch Ball scored for Comox in the first period, but Braves’ goalie Tanner McGaw was just as good — if not better — than Waddington, holding the Glacier Kings to two goals on 39 shots.

That included stopping Comox’s Jack Kenelly on a penalty shot early in the second period.

“I was kind of hoping we could use that as leverage to get things going, and we did. We got our chances but didn’t capitalize,” Gomez said.

Jackson Garrett scored Comox’s second goal on a powerplay to start the third period as Comox held on for the win.

It was a tough way to the end the season after the way the Braves battled ahead in the series last week. Comox took the first game 8-7 but Saanich came back to steal game two, 3-2, on Nick Vanstone’s overtime winner. McGaw stopped 35 of 37 in that game.

Saanich went ahead 2-1 in the series in game three, winning 4-2. But the Glaciers sweated out an overtime win of their own, 4-3 at Pearkes on Sunday. That led to Tuesday’s final game showdown with the series tied two games apiece.

Though this year’s opening-round playoff series was shortened to a best-of-five, the Braves’ first round loss to the Victoria Cougars last year went seven games.

“It definitely would’ve been ideal to get right back at it (Wednesday night) for Game 6. But what can you do?” Gomez said.

With his first season behind him, Gomez’s focus now turns to recruiting, beginning with midget playoffs currently underway.

“(Recruiting’s) a 12-months-of-the-year job and I didn’t get a chance to be part of that last year so it’ll be good to get to be a part of it this year.”

Panthers, Cougars hit round two

Peninsula swept Campbell River in three games, 7-3, 3-2 and 7-1. Four Panthers are tied for the team lead in scoring with six points: Joe Densmore, Kyle Peterson, Cole Peterson and Zach Mazo.

The Panthers open round two of the VIJHL playoffs against Comox at Panorama recreation centre on Friday night, 7:30 p.m.

The Victoria Cougars earned a bye through the first round as the best team in the regular season and will face Oceanside in round two.

Game one goes tonight (March 3) at Archie Browning Arena,

  • Game 2:  Saturday, March 5.  Victoria Cougars @ Oceanside Generals.  7:30 p.m.
  • Game 3:  Sunday, March 6.  Oceanside Generals @ Victoria Cougars.  3 p.m.
  • (IF NECESSARY) Game 4:  Wednesday, March 9.  Victoria Cougars @ Oceanside Generals.  7:30 p.m.
  • (IF NECESSARY) Game 5:  Thursday, March 10.  Oceanside Generals @ Victoria Cougars.  7:15 p.m.