Generals break six-game slide
Taylor Gray’s power play marker at 11:10 of the second period held up to be the winner, and Oceanside’s Save-On-Foods Generals snapped a six-game losing skid with a workmanlike 2-1 win over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings in VIJHL action on Sunday.
It was the first time the Generals have beaten the Yetis in three meetings this year. Sunday’s rare afternoon game at Oceanside Place was also the Gens’ third game in three days, but the team still had plenty of jump as they pushed the defending north division champions for three periods.
Michael Fretz (Riel Gibson, Taylor Gray), scored the lone goal of the opening period to stake Oceanside to a 1-0 lead. Comox scored 7:29 into the second, and Gray, the team’s leading point-getter with six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 14 games, fed the net off a quick snap shot from the top of the left face-off circle on the pp at 11:10.
There was no second period lapse in this game — Oceanside had been outscored 20-8 in the second stanza so far this season — as they out-shot the ‘Kings 19-7 in that period (their best one period output of the year so far), and 47-24 overall.
Comox is currently tops in the four-team north division at 8-5-1 and fourth overall in the nine-team league.
Powell River puckstopper Alex Mastrodonato, 18, was solid for the Generals in his first junior hockey win.
“Oceanside played really well — they played really well the last time we played them, too,” Glacier Kings Head coach Bill Rotheisier said outside the visitor’s dressing room after the game. “They came out hard and we weren’t ready for it, and that’s something we have to fix internally.”
While the Gens were looking for their first win in a while, the Kings had an eight game win streak come to an end against Peninsula the night before.
“Maybe, yeah,” Rotheisier conceded when asked if his squad may have taken their opponents lightly on Sunday. “I think the boys had pretty good streak where things were pretty easy for us, but that’s (no excuse). I think there was a lot of watching on the ice.”
“Great team win,” Oceanside head coach and GM Brent Demerais confirmed after the game. “They came out, got the puck deep, and out-skated and out-worked a team they hadn’t beaten yet this year. They’re starting to buy into our system, and that’s the biggest thing right now.”
The Generals conditioning was evident Sunday “and some new additions are making a huge difference,” said Demerais.
The line of Travis Flug, Cole Schneider and James Sneddon he pointed out, “really made a difference in the game. Maybe not in the scoring, but they were physical and they got under the skin of Comox.”
“WE NEED A W.”
That off-the-cuff comment by one of the Oceanside Generals’ players unpacking his gear in the parking lot prior to Saturday night’s VIJHL home game spoke volumes.
The Generals opened their three game push last Friday in North Saanich where they came up on the short end of a 4-3 final to the Peninsula Panthers.
The two teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes and Oceanside took a 3-2 lead into the 3rd but the Panthers struck for two unanswered goals in the final 10 minutes for the 4-3 win.
At home on Saturday against the 8-2 Saanich Braves in front of an announced crowd of 276, Oceanside was outshot 44-23 and dropped it’s sixth straight game in a 5-2 final.
Gens’ forward Lee Orpen was a bright spot on the night and rewarded with the Games 3rd star.
Now 4-8-2 on the season, the Generals are in action at Bear Mountain Arena Wednesday against the 7-6 Westshore Wolves, and return home to ‘The Place Saturday for another North Division matchup against the Campbell River Storm (3-6-1).
“There’s a lot of good players, a lot of physical players, a lot of skilled players in this league,” Rotheisier said when asked his take on what hockey fans can expect when they to a VIJHL game.