After needing the full seven games to take down the No. 8 seed in the playoffs in round one, the Campbell River Storm have swept the Saanich Braves in four games to advance to the VIJHL Finals.
Game one saw fans up until all hours of the night – though not as late as the triple-overtime thriller Game 5 of the team’s round one series against Peninsula – screaming their voices raw at the Brindy as the Storm needed a second overtime to finish the Braves.
It was another close one in game two, finishing with an empty Saanich goal as they pressed for the equalizer late in the third, but the Storm held on to take that one, as well.
But when the teams traveled down-Island for games three and four, it was clear that Campbell River had no interest in letting Saanich back into the series. The Storm took game three by a 3-1 score that was more lopsided than it showed on the scoreboard, with the Storm peppering Braves goaltender Anderson Violette with a whopping 47 shots on the night.
The Braves came out strong last night, intent on staying in the series, mounting 15 shots of their own on goaltender Jaden Little, who had served as backup to Aaron de Kok for most of these playoffs, but Little showed no rust whatsoever, turning all but one aside, and that one came with just over 30 seconds remaining in the period with Campbell River already up by one on a Tyler Chyzowski goal at 14:10 in the period.
Darren Hards put the visitors up by one 5:27 into the second period on the powerplay and Damon Porter would all but put the game away just a minute and a half into the third period with an unassisted marker to give the Storm a 3-1 lead.
Noah Fladager would find the empty net after Violette was called to the bench late in the period to give the Braves an extra attacker, making it a 4-1 final on the night and a 4-0 series sweep.
The Storm now get some much-needed rest as they await the other semin-final series between the Nanaimo Buccaneers and the Victoria Cougars to finish up. That series is tied two games apiece with game five taking place tonight (Thursday March 21) in Nanaimo. Game six goes Friday night in Nanaimo and Game seven, should it be required, takes place Sunday afternoon.
The Storm’s next series will begin on Tuesday, March 26 with game 2 going Friday, March 29. They won’t know their opponent until Friday at the earliest and possibly even Sunday if the Nanaimo-Victoria series goes to seven games. The series is currently tied at two games each with game 5 tonight in Victoria, game 6 on Friday and game 7 (if nec.) on Sunday.