Nanaimo Buccaneers players including Dylan Hartl, left, Lucas Patton, Braydon Nelson and Spencer Deakin keep the puck out in the final moments of Thursday’s VIJHL game against the Campbell River Storm. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The Nanaimo Buccaneers were better than the league’s first-place team, and that earned them a win.

The Bucs beat the Campbell River Storm by a 3-2 score Thursday night in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

“I thought we played great,” said Josh Zary, who scored twice for Nanaimo. “We came out hard in the first five, really set the tone early. It was nice to get two goals right away … and then we just shut them down the rest of the game and didn’t let them have much.”

Nanaimo has just one more game in 2019 and it comes a week from now, a rematch against the Storm, also at the NIC.

“To take care of this one is huge, but no one’s going to remember this one if we don’t do it [again] in the one before the Christmas break,” Toneff said.

Zary said the Buccaneers are prepared to keep focus the way they need to to end fall the right way.

“We’re looking into next week and we can’t really look past that and look forward to Christmas [yet] – if we have a good game, then I think we’re going to have fun during the break,” he said.

GAME ON … The Buccaneers and Storm play Thursday, Dec. 20, at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

Courtesy of Greg Sasaki Nanaimo News Bulletin