Storm vs. Buccaneers: playoff series preview
The Campbell River Storm will face-off against the Nanaimo Buccaneers in Round one of the 2014 VIJHL Playoffs starting tonight at Rod Brind’Amour Arena. Here’s a look at how the series breaks down.
Campbell River Storm (30-14-1-2) 63 Points – 2nd VIJHL North
Nanaimo Buccaneers (25-19-2-2) 54 Points – 3rd VIJHL North
- Game 1 – Wednesday, Feb.19 – Campbell River – 7:30 p.m.
- Game 2 – Thursday, Feb. 20 – Nanaimo Ice Center – 7:15 p.m.
- Game 3 – Friday, Feb. 21 – Campbell River – 7:30 p.m.
- Game 4 – Sunday, Feb. 23 – Nanaimo Ice Center – 2 p.m.
- Game 5 – Wednesday, Feb. 26 – Campbell River – 7:30 p.m. (If Necessary)
- Game 6 – Thursday, Feb. 27 –Nanaimo Ice Center – 7:15 p.m. (If Necessary)
- Game 7 – Friday, Feb. 28 – Campbell River – 7:30 p.m. (If Necessary)
The goaltending duel should be watched very closely in this series. For the Storm, Jack Surgenor is the almost guaranteed starter, although goalie Russell Sanderson could see some action as well. Surgenor played well in nine games against Nanaimo this year, but his numbers were not as near as good versus the Buccaneers as they were against the rest of the VIJHL.
For the Nanaimo Buccaneers, it’s the second straight season for Brad Knight where he might decide to flip a coin over his starting goaltender. Goalie Ryan Waldhaus had a torrent start to the season, but saw limited time down the stretch due to injury. Jackson Jane was a huge pickup at the VIJHL Trade Deadline from Kerry Park, and Jane started three of the last four games for Nanaimo, seemingly taking the inside track to being named the game one starter.
They say defence wins championships. For the Storm, it might be the offence the defence creates that could lead them throughout the playoffs. Trent Johnson put up 44 points in 38 games, and Alex Brewer added 31 points in 37 games. Elsewhere on the backend, Curtis Toneff can be a force to be reckoned with defensively, and acquiring Nick Hayes at the deadline helped the d-core.
The Buccaneers haven’t had an offensive defenceman since trading away Derian Hamilton 12 games into the year, although Noah Russi did pick up 27 points in 45 games. Rookie Dayton Boutilier has been strong on the back end for the Buc’s, and forward turned D-man Lynden Eddy has been one of the steadiest D-men the last half of the year. Jake Calverley plays with an edge and is effective when he’s on the right side of the line, but look for the Storm to try to get under his skin.
The Storm are lead by two former Sicamous Eagles in Brendan DeVries and Brayden Taekema. These two forwards combined to score 70 goals, and add 91 assists for 161 points over the 48 game seasons. DeVries also set a Storm franchise record for assists in a season with 56 in just 44 games, and takes home the VIJHL scoring title with his 88 point season. Add in James Severs’ 18 goals and 25 assists, and the top line in Campbell River had 88 goals and 116 assists this year. That line has also been a Buccaneer killer this season as well, scoring 21 goals against Nanaimo. That’s not where the scoring stops though, as Gage Colpron had a great season with 22 goals and 21 assists in his rookie campaign, and Braydon Horcoff added 27 points in just 27 games this year.
Up front scoring is a little bit of a question mark for the Buccaneers heading into this series, as leading scorer Garrett Dunlop is still out with an injury. Dunlop had 24 goals and 60 points in 43 games, and Jordan Levesque has helped pick up the slack with 47 points in 45 games this year. The signing of Garrett Brandsma was a big pick up for the Buccaneers as he has a heavy shot, and has nine goals and three assists in just 10 games.
This series may be one of the hardest to call when you look at the head-to-head matchup all season long. With the exception of the final three games against each other that were Campbell River blowouts, the teams have played some great hockey against one another. This looks to be a very physical series, and will see some great goaltending and a lot of talent up front.