Cougars sweep Generals in three
They weren’t able to play lion killer, but the young Generals were still a handful for the heavily favoured Cougars over the weekend.
Oceanside’s boys of Junior B hockey saw their season come to an end in Victoria on Sunday as they lost in overtime for the second time in three days against the newly crowned league champions in their best of five semifinal.
In their series opener last Thursday, it took two overtime periods to decide a winner with the Cougars clawing out a 3-2 win. The series resumed Saturday night in Parksville with Victoria coming out on top 2-0. Both goals came in the second period; both off the stick of Steve Axford.
On Sunday at Archie Browning Arena facing elimination, the Generals’ gave it everything they had and pushed the Cylcone Taylor Cup contenders for 68 minutes and 46 seconds.
Cam McCarrick staked the Generals to a 1-0 first period lead 8:29 into the game when he streaked in and popped a poke-check in on the doorstep.
Hometown rookie forward Travis Flug upped it to 2-0 Gens 35 seconds into the second when he buried a beauty backhand pass from Dylan Moore five hole. Local goalie Stephen Wolff, the Gens’ playoff MVP, made a gigantic pad save minutes later, but the Cougars were snarling and cut it to 2-1 at 2:31 which is how it stood after 40 minutes, thanks in no small part to the play of the Generals’ defence which did a great job clogging up the middle and keeping the Coug’s to the outside.
D-man Matthew Dixon from Wasila, Alaska, was a warrior for the Generals all series.
Victoria scored the only goal of the third period 3:18 in, and then iced the series 8:46 into five-on-five OT.
Victoria outshot Oceanside 36-18 on the night. The Gens’ were 8-for-37 on the power play in the post season heading into Sunday’s game, but conversely they had kept the Cougars off the board all 13 times they had the man advantage.
That the players were disappointed Sunday simply speaks of their competitive spirit, which head coach and GM Dave Johnston applauded Monday morning.
“We’re extremely proud of the way these kids battled,” he said. “They were able to focus on being the best they can be.”
“I mean one double overtime, one overtime, those games can go either way, so even though we lost three straight we could have been up 2-1 right now.
“As individuals and as a team we took a huge step in the playoffs — even though we lost in the semi-final the season ended on an extremely positive note.”
Asked if he has any parting thoughts on the campaign that was, Johnston, paused, then made the point, “we decided to go young (at the start of the season), we went young, and at the end of it all we competed with the elite teams. It was fun. We had an awesome group of kids, and at the end of the day we saw the fruits of their labor in the playoffs. It really sets us up for next year to have a large group of players that are eligible to return.”
The team is having a fun ice session and final practice Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. and will reconvene one last time for club’s annual year end awards banquet. Watch The News for details.