Generals hammer Storm
Oceanside’s Save On Foods Generals returned to the rink hungry for a win Saturday, and were full value for a satisfying 9-4 final over the Campbell River Storm.
The Storm may be at the bottom of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) standings, but they are fast and stubborn and always play Oceanside tough.
Both teams came out of the gate hard, and the Storm thought they’d struck for the early lead just over a minute in, only to have it waved off.
Luciano Somerville rubbed salt in the wound when he roofed a Cam McKarrick rebound and staked Oceanside to a 1-0 lead a minute later.
Taylor Grobowski (Garrett Kemmler, Dylan Haugen) struck on the power play at 8:52 to up it to 2-0. Local boy Brett Willsie scored for CR at 11:19 to cut it to 2-1.
Haugen scored at 18:01 to make it 3-1, which is how it stood at the first intermission.
Taylor Gray (Nathan Deyell, Riel Gibson) scored 4:08 into the second period to up it to 4-1. CR got one to go at 7:47 to make it 4-2. Oceanside struck for two goals — Connor Allison at 15:55 and Kyle Yamasaki on the PP at 18:48 — for a 6-2 Gens’ lead after 40 minutes.
The Generals kept their foot on the gas in the third with Haugen, Grobowski and Gray all scoring. The Storm mustered two in the last two minutes, the last one a bit unusual as it was an empty netter.
“We had three guys with two goals each so I pulled the goalie and loaded them up to try and get one of them the hat trick,” explained head coach and GM Dave Johnston.
Deyell, from Vancouver and in his rookie season with the Gens, said Johnston, “has been unreal for us all year. He’s been one of the top 16-year-olds in junior B hockey in the province this year. He’s a real two-dimensional defensemen — he has offensive instincts, and he is very solid defensively.”
Also earning props from his coach was Generals’ stalwart Yamasaki, who was force feeding the Storm pucks all night.
“I thought Yammers was phenomenal last night,” said Johnston. “He was a real leader out there.”
For the Generals, it was their only game of the week after a week off, so there were expectations going in.
“For sure,” Johnston confirmed Sunday, adding, “we had to take a period to knock some rust off, but our players had great energy the whole game.”
Great energy, and a clear commitment to the systems in place as they had the Storm on their heels for much of the game.
The Storm were 0-for-5 with the man advantage on Saturday, the Gens 2-for-8. It was the eighth and final regular season meeting between the two teams this year. The Gens take the head-to-head series 6-2. The Storm, added Johnston, were 0-for-40 overall in the series against Oceanside with the man advantage.
Oceanside outshot CR 37-26 on the night. Gens’ starter Michael Gudmandson backstopped the locals with a solid 22-save performance.
Now 17-16-2 and sitting fourth overall with eight regular season games remaining, the Generals are in Comox Friday night, and return home Saturday to take on the sixth place Kerry Park Islanders (7:30 p.m. start).