Ben Chessor
The Navigator

Riel Gibson making a pass on a 2 on 1.
Photo by Ben Chessor

The Nanaimo Buccaneers suffered their first defeat in the Vancouver Island Jr Hockey League this season. After winning their first eight games of the season by a combined score of 40-12, the Bucs fell 5-4 to their North Island Rivals, the Campbell River Storm, on Thursday, October 3, at the Nanaimo Ice Centre, before a crowd of 237 people.

The Bucs came out of the gate firing early against the Storm. Nanaimo took a 1-0 lead before the two minute mark as Riel Gibson fired the puck past Storm goalie Jack Surgenor.

Three minutes later, Nanaimo doubled their lead to 2-0 as Lee Orpen scored his first goal of the season. Campbell River battled back in the second half of the first period. Gage Colpron and Cam Olsen both scored before the first period was over.

The game was tied at 2-2 heading into the second period.  Early in the second period, Campbell River took their first lead in the game as Brayden Taekema beat Alex Mastrodonato at 5:31 of the period to give the Storm a 3-2 lead. Gibson scored his second goal five minutes  later, tying the game. The game didn’t stay tied for long, though, as Campbell River got power play goals from Zack Sanderson and Brendan DiVries just 90 seconds apart to give the Storm a 5-3 lead heading into the third period. A goal by the Bucs’  Jordan Levesque with seven seconds remaining in the game cut the Storm lead to 5-4, but that was as close as Nanaimo came. The final shot on goal in the game favoured Campbell River 34-26.

The Buccaneers were back in action the next night in Parksville facing the Oceanside Generals. The first six minutes of the game saw three goals, two by the Bucs. Gibson scored at 2:16 of the first period. Less than three minutes later, Shane Dial added a second goal to stretch the lead to 2-0. The Generals’ Corey Burnett scored less than a minute after Dial to make the score 2-1  for the Buccaneers. The score stayed that way until 16:37 of the second period, when Nanaimo captain Noah Russi stretched the Nanaimo lead to 3-1.  A goal by Daniel Foglietta just over a minute after Russi’s extended the Nanaimo lead to 4-1 heading into the third period.

In the final frame, Nanaimo’s Jordan Levesque put the game out of reaching. Levesque scored the only three goals of the third period to complete a natural hat trick, and returned the Buccaneers to their winning ways with a 7-1 victory. Mastrodonato picked up the win for Nanaimo, stopping 14 of the 15 shots he faced. Nanaimo outshot Oceanside 44-15 in the victory.

A Buccaneers player was also honoured with personal accolades during the first week of October. Nanaimo forward, Riel Gibson, was named VIJHL Player of the Week for the first week of October. Gibson led the Bucs in goals and is tied with Storm forward, Brendan Devries, as the league leading scorer with ten goals in ten games. The Buccaneers’ next home game is a big one. The team hosts the south division, leading Victoria Cougars on Thursday, October 17, at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Puck drop is at 7:15 and student tickets are $8.