The Nanaimo Buccaneers are well aware their schedule is about to get a lot tougher.
After rolling to a 14-2-0-0 record heading into the final day in October, they will play three games in three nights against three teams that have shown a great deal of improvement in recent weeks.
It all starts tonight when they host the Comox Valley Glacier Kings at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre, riding a Vancouver Island Junior B Hockey League best four-game winning streak.
"They've got an explosive offence," said Buccaneers head coach Brad Knight. "With the acquisition of (former Buccaneer) Derian Hamilton, their back end is solid and their forecheck is pretty good. We think they're one of the better teams in the league."
The Buccaneers top six forwards have done the bulk of the heavy lifting to this point, now Knight is hoping to see some more production out of his some of his younger guys on the third and fourth lines.
"I think our energy guys have been playing very well and are understanding their role," said Knight. "In Campbell River (last Friday), the effort that we got was a really strong effort from a lot of the young guys."
One guy who has played well for most of the season, especially against the Glacier Kings, with six points in two games, in Will McNamara. The six-foot-two, 235-pound winger is third in team scoring with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 15 games. He has flown under the radar for much of the year, but has played well in a number of situations.
"Will is very opportunistic," said Knight.
"Will is very good at scoring on other team's mistakes. .. Will has been very good at jumping up and seeing that opportunity and delivering."
With three games in three nights, both of the Buccaneers goalies will get in the net. Alex Mastrodonato will start tonight (3-2-0, 3.03 goals against average, .836 save percentage) and Ryan Waldhaus (9-0-0, 1.45, .946) will get the start on Friday in Campbell River against the Storm at 7:30 p.m. The goalie that plays the best will get the start on Saturday in Parksville against the Oceanside Generals at 7:30 p.m. Despite carrying a nine-point lead in the North Division over the Glacier Kings, Knight sees this weekend as an opportunity to burry the other three teams early.
"These three games are all within our division. .. so there is an opportunity for us to separate our selves with six points," he said.
"Anything less than two-out of three will be a set back for our club."
Mariners volleyball hosting CBC Bearcats
The Vancouver Island University Mariners volleyball programs are going in opposite direction to start the year, and will host the Columbia Bible College Bearcats in Pacific Western Athletic Association action this weekend.
VIU's women (6-0, 18:3), are already starting to assert their dominance on the conference, while the Bearcats (0-4, 1:12) are tied with the College of the Rockies Avalanche for last. They play at 6 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The VIU men (1-5, 8:17) are off to their worst start in a while. They have had a number of close loses, but were swept 3-0 on backto-back days by the Capilano University Blues this past weekend. They play the Bearcats (2-2, 8:9) at 8 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Send all schedules and scores to sports editor Josh Aldrich at JAldrich@nanaimodailynews.com or email@example.com or phone 250-729-4243
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