Storm-Buccaneers series potential barn burner

Campbell River Storm

It’s the series that many Storm fans have been looking forward to for months.

The Nanaimo Buccaneers and Campbell River Storm have been giving each other fits this season. Despite their positions in the standings, their games have been hotly contested affairs with the outcomes evenly split at five wins, five losses.

Game one of the North Division Finals required double overtime to be decided.

These two teams square off again at the Nanaimo Ice Centre tonight and are back at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena Friday. Watch for the latest results.

In game one, Campbell River’s Mitchell Williams accepted a Colin Blake pass and fired the puck past John Hawthorne for the 3-2 win at the 2:32 mark in overtime.

For Williams, it was his first game back after suffering a lower body injury on Jan. 28. He explains the play, “Amazing, as soon as I looked up and saw only one D, and Colin and me, I thought something’s here. As soon it hit my stick, I put it short side. I can’t thank the boys enough, that was a hard fought game.”

Campbell River opened the scoring early when Dawson Frank pounced on a rebound off a Ben Raffler blast from the point. That goal came at 2:35 of the first, a period that the Storm dominated territorial. Hawthorne was solid making save after save.

The Buccaneers are dangerous on special teams and they demonstrated that midway through the opening period. VIJHL Rookie of the Year, Dawson Heathcote stole the puck in his own zone and went the distance beating Chris Smith on the blocker side, short-handed.

In the second period, the Storm responded with a little specialty team magic of their own. Darren Hards forechecking deep on the penalty kill stole the puck behind the net, circled in front then outwaited Hawthorne for a 2-1 Storm lead.

That’s how it remained until late in the third.With their net empty and 25.7 seconds left on the clock, Trent Bell took a pass in the high slot and fired the puck pass a mass of players in front of the Storm net to tie the game at two.

Billy Walters had an opportunity to complete the Buc’s comeback with a penalty shot when he was slashed on a breakaway with virtually no time left on the clock. His shot was wide and the game went to overtime where Williams decided it.