After a dominating 8-4 win down the road in Nanaimo on Thursday to pull within one point of the Buccaneers for first place in the VIJHL standings, the Storm came back to the Brindy and gave the home crowd a heck of a follow-up performance the next night.
Nanaimo’s Booker Chacalias opened the scoring hanf-way through the first period to put the visitors up 1-0 and Buc’s goaltender Derek Krall, who has led the league in pretty much every statistical category most of the season thus far, kept up his end of the deal right through the middle of the second period, when Pearce Messer found the back of the net to bring the game back to a 1-1 tie.
The third would see the Buccaneers put some fear into the crowd at the Brindy, as Chacalias would score his second of the night just two minutes in and Krall continue to stand his ground in the Nanaimo net.
But when Chacalias added a third half-way through the period, things got desperate for the home team, and the young squad responded. Jonathan Lee would bring the Storm back within one a minute after Chacalias completed his hat trick and Kyle Kaufmann brought the game back into a tie half a minute later.
The evenly-matched squads would continue to battle, and with less than one minute left in the third, Lee would again find the back of the Nanaimo goal for the game winner, completing the comeback and earning him first star honours on the night.
The Storm now have six of the top 12 scorers in the league with Darren Hards leading the way with 22 points, followed by rookie Ryan Butler and Dawson Frank with 19.
Goaltender Spencer Deakin continues his stellar rookie year in the Storm net. He now leads the league in wins (10), sits in third place in Goals Against Average (2.26) behind only the pair of goaltenders in Nanaimo, is amongst the league lead in save percentage (.910) and has played more minutes than anyone else in the league, at 851.
The Storm slipped back into second place after the Buccaneers took down the struggling Comox Valley Glacier Kings the following night, but the two teams remain well ahead of the pack, with the third place Westshore Wolves eight points back of the storm league-wide and the next closest team in the North Division – the Oceanside Generals – currently 14 points back of the Storm.
The Storm’s next action is Friday, Nov. 10, when they travel back down Island to meet the Peninsula Panthers before coming home for a rematch on Sunday the 12th. Puck drop for Sunday’s game is 4 p.m. at the Brindy.