The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals will play their first home game of the season against North Division rivals the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Saturday at Oceanside Place at 7 p.m.
It will be a big relief for the road-weary Generals, who after Friday’s night’s game, Sept. 15, against the Saanich Braves in Victoria, the Generals would have completed four gruelling road games.
For the Generals, which consist mainly of young and inexperienced players, it was a tough schedule to start the new Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season. But for coach Jesse Hammill, it was also great way to teach the team’s young blood, to hardened them up sooner for the long grind.
“We approach each game with the intention of improving,” said Hammill. “With every shift and every step in the way let’s improve as a team, as a unit, and individually.”
The Generals had their highs and also their lows in their first three games. They opened the season with a one-sided 11-3 loss against one of the most formidable teams in the league, the Campbell River Storm and dropped a narrow 3-2 decision to the Nanaimo Buccaneers. In their third game, against the Westcoast Wolves, the Generals pulled a 2-0 shutout win for their first of the season.
Throughout those three games, the Generals’ special teams were their biggest assets. All their goals were scored via power play and their penalty killing units were instrumental in keeping the Generals in the game, especially against the Buccaneers and the Wolves. Their penalty killing was already at 87 per cent and power plays at 33 per cent in the first three games.
“Usually where teams are struggling is when their power plays aren’t clicking and right now ours is,” said Hammill.
“If we can find a way to score five-on-five we’re going to have success.”
The Generals are hoping to do that when they take on the Braves tomorrow night and against the Glacier Kings at home on Saturday night. But they will be facing two very hungry teams. Both teams are winless so far with the Braves dropping their first two games while the Glacier Kings have lost three games in a row.
Hammill said he would be happy to see the Generals end up with a 3-2 record after Saturday night.
“That’s our goal right now,” said Hammill. “That’s our ambition. Is it going to be easy? No. Going down to Saanich is always a tough place to play and then play rival Comox, which added some guys.
“They’ve got [goalie] Matt Henwood who used to play for us. They’re going to come in and really try and take it to us. We are going to have to be in our best.”
The Generals want locals to come out for their first home game of the season on Saturday. The club has dropped ticket prices this season. Regular adult ticket is only $8 while seniors and students are $5. Kids under six are free. A family pass is $15.
As well, if people bring your QF Card in to be scanned, they will get in for free.