Generals on the right track for the new year

You can bet there was some stewing on the menu for the players and coaches of Oceanside’s Save-On-Foods Generals over the Christmas break, but the good news is the local squad of Jr. Bs is unbeaten in 2013 “and headed in the right direction.”

The Generals closed out 2012 on home ice in front of just under 400 fans Dec. 29 with a 5-1 loss to the Saanich Braves.

It was the Generals fourth straight loss and puts them at 13-18-2 for eighth place in the nine-team league as they enter the home stretch of the 48-game season.

Make no mistake, the short-benched Gens were in tough against the now 24-6-2 Braves, who are second overall behind the runaway league-leading Victoria Cougars at 31-1-1. In their final game of 2012 the Generals trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes and were down 4-0 after 40.

Local forwards James Sneddon (Travis Flug) accounted for Oceanside’s lone goal 38 seconds into the final frame to cut it to 4-1, but that would be as close as they’d get as the Braves scored once more at 5:24 and coasted to the W.

Oceanside was outshot 32-28 on the game; Kiefer Giroux took the loss in net.

“I’m always talking with the coach, and I’m pretty happy with the goals we set this year — I think we’re attaining those,” Oceanside Generals’ Jr. Hockey Club governor Sylvain Giroux said this week when The NEWS caught up with him for his take on the state of the team.

“We were losing and everybody was upset; we win six in a row, everybody’s happy; we lose four and everybody’s upset, that’s hockey,” he said, and agreed that in a league where all but the last place team makes the playoffs, the emphasis “is always on development.”

“It’s not all about winning and losing,” said Giroux, adding “Jr. B is tough — your best players are always going to move up, which is the goal, right, so you just have to keep on keeping on.”

Giroux also touched on the fact there’s no denying the Gens have been battling the injury bug, “but we’re brining up affiliates and developing them.

In Jr. A, he adds, the players get more ice time “and they’ve got kids that are 120 per cent committed, and Jr. B is not like that, you got all kinds of things you gotta deal with.”

At the end of the day Giroux says his goal heading into the start of this year, which saw a new board of governors and new coaches in place, “was to be a respectable team, and I’m happy with how we’re coming along, I’m happy with both the coaching staff, and the players.”

ICE CHIPS:  Gens’ head coach and GM Brent Demerais used up one of his last three cards over the holidays when he signed 6’1” 190 pound forward Thanvir Bandesha, 18, from Aldergrove. Bandesha was acquired from the Grandview Steelers of the PIJHL. The Generals have until Jan. 10 to finalize their final 23 man roster.

- From down Island comes word longtime former Gens’ head coach and GM Dave Johnston was released from his position as assistant head coach with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals just before Christmas. The ‘Caps are currently sitting last in the Jr. A league’s 5-team Island Division at 9-19-2.

GAME ON:  The Generals take to the ice in Campbell River tonight (Friday), then host the Storm at Oceanside Place Saturday (7:30 p.m. start).

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