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Saanich Predators win their 1st VIHL title in more than 25 years

Predators beat Mill Bay’s Kerry Park Islanders in OT, to win the Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy
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The Saanich Predators took home the Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy after winning the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League Championship on Tuesday, April 2. (Gord Rufh photo)

Saanich’s Junior B hockey team won its first Vancouver Island championship in over 25 years.

On Tuesday, April 2, the Saanich Predators took home the Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy, defeating the Kerry Park Islanders 5-4 in overtime in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs and winning their first championship since 1996.

The Predators were down two goals until forward Ryan Grambert scored twice in the dying minutes of the third period, tying the game with 18 seconds left in regulation. Ethan Taylor scored in the first two minutes of overtime, lifting Saanich to a 4-1 series win.

“Ryan Grambert got two goals in the last two minutes, tying up the game,” said Cody Carlson, Saanich head coach and general manager. “He was kind of struggling to score all series, but he found a way when it mattered so that was awesome to see.”

He said a trade with the Penisula Panthers, which saw defenceman Evan Crawford, and forwards Ryan Grambart and Tristan Rosenblood join the team in January, was “a big game changer” and key to their success in the playoffs.

“We lost five guys going into that final round, so being down bodies, it was hard on us, but I think overall the guys rallied together and rallied around the guys that were suspended and injured and found a way to win,” he said.

The Predators opened the playoffs with a 4-1 series win over the Westshore Wolves before stopping the Victoria Cougars in seven games.

The team is evaluating who will be staying on the team and who will be leaving next season, and finding their strengths and weaknesses as they move towards provincials.

Read More: Peninsula Panthers blockbuster trade with Saanich pays immediate dividends