Cory Bukauskas of the bantam A Tyees powers to the net during Sunday’s seeding game against the Oceanside Generals at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena. Bukauskas scored once as Campbell River hammered the Generals 11-0.

Bantams face must-win game Saturday

The Campbell RIver Tyees host the Saanich Braves on Saturday. The winner moves on to the Island finals

The Campbell River No. 1 Autobody Bantam A Tyees finished the Division 1 regular season tied for third place and just two points out of first place.

The hockey team finished with a 6-6 record. The Tyees lost to Nanaimo on Jan 18, 8-3 (goals scored by Cory Bukauskas, Sage Lim and Tyler Dickson) then beat Victoria Racquet Club 8-6 on Jan. 19, at home, in the final regular season game. Goals were scored by Lim (2), Darian Swift (2), Bukauskas, Josh Coblenz, Brendan Hoff and Dustin Kew.

The coaching staff is very encouraged by the team’s strong play throughout the season and their continuous improvement.  The players are committed to the systems that the coaches have implemented and are starting to play more instinctively rather than trying to remember what their role is at any given time.

The Tyees began the round-robin portion of the Tier 2 playoffs with a road game at Powell River on Feb 2. This game was a wee bit of a nail-biter as the Tyees were dominating the play in the Kings zone but not turning the red light on.

Tyees’ goalie Kyle Franceschini kept the biscuit out of the basket long enough for the Tyees to start to grind down the Kings. Bukauskas had a pair of goals while Olivia Knowles and Will McLean added singles in the Tyee 4-1 victory.

On Feb. 9, the Oceanside Generals travel to Rod Brind’Amour Arena for the Tyees second round robin game. The Tyees didn’t let the Generals get comfortable at all in this game.

They jumped out to an early lead, scoring two goals early in the first period. Rebounds were the order of the day as the Tyees went into the dirty zones, earning more shots and burying them in the back of the net.

Dominik Bellefleur made four great saves as the final shots on goal were 42-16 in favour of the Tyees. The score was a reflection of the shots on goal; the Tyees won 11-0.

The number-one line re-established its offensive game as Coblenz led the scoring with four goals and four assists; Lim 4G, 3A; Dickson 3A; Devlin 1G, 1A; Bukauskas and Swift each had 1G; Hoff, Kew, Knowles and Wilson each had 1A.

“Our players are doing what we’re asking of them,” said Head Coach Vince Devlin. “We’ve focused on getting them in position to succeed while understanding their role within the team dynamic. We will continue to fine tune a few things as we proceed further into the playoffs.”

As the top team in the North Island zone, the Tyees host Saanich Braves in the Tier 2 cross-over semi-final game. This winner-take-all game is at the Rod Brind’Amoura Arena on Saturday, 2 p.m.