Oceanside’s Save-On-Foods Generals are on the home stretch of their VIJHL regular season, and with only six games remaining, this weekend’s home-and-home against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings takes on extra significance.
At 18-21-2 the Gens are currently four points back of the 20-19-2 Comox Valley Glacier Kings for second in the North Division. The team that clinches second will have home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs, and the easier first round opponent.
“This is probably the biggest weekend of the year for our team so far,” Gens’ head coach and GM Brent Demerais confirmed this week when The NEWS caught up with him, who said that at this point “we control our own destiny really. As far as I’m concerned we’re playing playoff hockey right now.
“We need to do all those things you need to do to win playoff games,” he said quickly when asked what’s needed this weekend. “Stuff like going to the greasy areas in front of the net, taking a hit to make a pass, discipline — just being smart and capitalizing on our chances. I think special teams play a big role too in the playoffs,” he said, explaining how the team has been putting in a lot of extra work on their power play.
“I think what it comes down to is if we look after our end of the rink more than we have been, the other end of the rink will take care of itself.”
The Generals head into the weekend sitting seventh overall in the nine-team league in special teams. Worth noting is that the Generals are the runaway leaders in shorthanded goals this season with 13 — five more than the VIJHL’s first place Cougars who are tied for second with Kerry Park at eight. In that category the Gens are also tied with the Westshore Wolves for fewest shorthanded goals allowed at four.
“It’s going to be a good test for us this weekend,” said the Gens’ first year coach. “We’re looking forward to it.”
GAME ON: The Generals are in Comox Friday night and the two teams meet again at Oceanside Place Saturday in a 7:30 p.m. start.