“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
It’s back to the drawing board for Oceanside’s Save On Foods Generals, as head coach and GM Dave Johnston continues to try and find the formula for what ails his young team.
Back in action a few short days after Johnston released his head coach, assistant coach and both goalies, the Generals were thumped 7-3 on Friday in Sidney against the Peninsula Panthers, then gave up two unanswered goals in the third period at home on Saturday to go down 3-1 to the Campbell River Storm.
“Brutal,” Johnston grumbled Saturday afternoon when asked how it went against the Panthers. “An unacceptable effort level ... I mean we have a big job ahead of us, there’s no doubt about it. We need to re-instill the culture of hard work first.”
That evening the Generals got caught on their heals against a surly Storm squad that came out flying.
It was trial by fire for Dylan Quinn, one of three new goalies Johnston brought in last week. Quinn had to make a quick pad save in traffic 17 seconds into the game, and was tested five more times in the first five minutes. Campbell River carried the play early, but the Generals regrouped and turned the tables through hard work, but as has been the script so far this season, came up short on finish.
There was a fight 6:08 into the game when Generals’ captain Nick Bell stepped in and landed a couple bombs on CR’s Brendan Enns for his vicious two-handed slash on an Oceanside player. Bell’s early departure from the game left the Generals with only four defensemen.
The two teams played to a scoreless first period tie, and Taylor Gray (Dylan Haugen, Keenan McConnell) scored 50 seconds into the second for a 1-0 Oceanside lead. CR countered at 12:35 for a 1-1 tie after 40 minutes.
The Storm scored the winner at 18:09, then adding an empty-netter with 14 seconds left.
Quinn made 32 saves in a losing cause. Dylan Haugen was the game’s third star.
“It was obviously disappointing not to be on the winning side of it but our guys gave a good effort in what was a really good hockey game,” Johnston assessed Sunday night.
“I thought we had good goaltending both games. Obviously Friday we left our (goalie) all alone ... and then Saturday, I thought Dylan Quinn was spectacular.”
The weekend losses drop the Generals to 3-8-1 and one point up on the 3-8 Storm for second in the North.
Hayden Smith, 19, from Spruce Grove AB. was picked up from the Kamloops Storm of the KIJHL. He got the start against the Panthers Friday night. Saturday’s starter Quinn, 18, from Prince George, was just released from the Flin Flon Bombers of the MJHL. Backing him up was Michael Gudmandson, 18, from Sherwood Park. Gudmandson was just released from the Jr. A Dawson Creek Rage of the USHL and will get his first start this week.
The Gens are in Kerry Park on Thursday then return home Saturday for the back end of the home and home against the 7-5 Islanders (puck drops at 7:30 p.m.).