Buccaneers break a third-period tie to beat Generals

February hadn’t been kind to the Nanaimo Buccaneers until tonight.

The city’s VIHL junior B hockey team picked up a win against its nearest neighbour on Sunday, as the Bucs doubled up the Oceanside Generals 2-1 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

The contest was a rematch from last night, when the Gens won 4-2 in Parksville, and it was a meaningful victory for the Buccaneers who had lost five straight.

“To snap that bit of a skid – probably one of our longer ones of the year, if not the longest – was huge and just the way we did it … it was just a group effort,” said Curtis Toneff, Buccaneers coach.

Nanaimo was down 1-0 after one period, had it tied up by second intermission and then won it in the third thanks to Dylan Devers’s game-winner. Bucs forward Billy Walters forced a turnover on the boards and got the puck to Dawson Heathcote.

“Heater made a nice play to bring the D-man to him and fed me high slot and I just took my shot,” Devers said.

He said the Buccaneers, playing the same opponent back to back, were looking for a more rounded game Sunday.

“We played really good,” Devers said. “Defensively I thought we were a lot better … it’s what wins games. Defence turns to offence, which wins games.”

Nanaimo has been locked into second place in the North Division for a long time, but has managed to keep its focus for the most part. Devers said the team has been looking forward to post-season, but concentrating on each game as it comes, and that’s what coaches are asking for.

“If we do the little things, I think the big things will come,” Toneff said.

Heathcote and Devers each had a goal and an assist and Walters had two assists Sunday. Austin Dendl was the winning goalie as shots were 40-21 in favour of the home team.

GAME ON … The Buccaneers play the first-place Campbell River Storm on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7:15 p.m. at the NIC.

Credit to Greg Sakaki Nanaimo News Bulletin for article