Gens steal three points
Kyle Yamasaki scored with six seconds left in the game Saturday night to force overtime, and Oceanside’s Save-On-Foods Generals bagged three of four points against the Kerry Park Islanders in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action.
Oceanside opened the home-and-home against KP Thursday in Mill Bay with a solid 5-2 win. It was an important litmus test for the young Generals against the team they will very likely be facing in the first round of the upcoming playoffs.
On Saturday in front of a good sized crowd — part of the Oceanside Minor Hockey Jamboree earlier in the day — both teams traded chances in a scoreless first period tie.
The Islanders beat Gens’ starter Stephen Wolff off a deflection 14 ticks into the second period and added another at 14:45 to take a 2-0 lead into the final frame.
Luciano Somerville (Jeff Bartel) scored on the power play to cut it to 2-1, and Yamasaki (Brent Baltus, Bartel) whacked in a loose puck in to force OT.
Neither team could score in the five minute four-on-four, and KP won the shootout. Oceanside went 0-for-3 in the shootout, the Islanders 1-3.
The Generals outshot the Islanders 39-29 on the night — the final regular season meeting between the two teams, with Oceanside taking the series, 5-2-1.
“I thought Thursday night was a really solid 60 minute team game,” Generals’ head coach and GM Dave Johnston said in his post-weekend recap. “All of our players played within our system. We didn’t give up any power play goals, we played hard, we were disciplined, and we got a great result.”
Key to the Generals’ strong play of late has been their ability to stay out of the penalty box.
“That’s been a huge focus. Basically we have a zero tolerance for stupidity,” Johnston surmised, adding the focus has been “on composure, emotional stability, and team first — always. And if we can continue down that path it’s going to give us a real advantage going into the playoffs.”
The new line combination of Dylan Moore, Travis Flug and Cam McCarrick, he added, “were absolutely dominant and were definitely difference makers in that game.”
In KP on Thursday, Flug staked the Gens’ to a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the game, and Somerville (Briggs) scored with seven seconds left in the period for a 2-1 Oceanside lead after 20 minutes.
Flug fed the net for the only goal of the second. Baltus scored his team-leading 20th of the season 2:24 into the third. KP scored shorthanded at 9:51 and Briggs iced it with an empty netter. Oceanside outshot KP 41-29 on the night. Kolding Larson was in net for the win.
Earning props for his play on the weekend was Bartel, acquired just before Christmas, and Thursday marked his first game back from a six game suspension (fighting).
“He’s a very physical, puck moving defensemen, and he’s a huge addition to our hockey team; he was a dominant player all weekend,” Johnston said of the 18-year-old from Steinbach, Manitoba.
Luciano, said Johnston, “also had a real good weekend. He took a real step forward as a 17-year-old he was a player that really brought his A-game all weekend.”
The Gens remain fourth in the regular season standings at 18-15-0-3 and five points up on the fifth place Islanders with six games remaining.
The Generals are down Island against the Peninsula Panthers on Friday, and returned home Saturday to take on the Campbell River Storm (7:30 p.m. start).