It was the tale of two markedly different games on the weekend, as Oceanside’s Save-On-Foods Generals bounced back from Friday’s 6-0 loss in Comox with a 5-0 win in Parksville Saturday in VIJHL action.
“It’s a completely different game tonight,” Oceanside Generals Jr. Hockey Club president and governor Sylvain Giroux confirmed from the end glass Saturday.
“Totally different game,” Generals’ head coach and GM Brent Demerais agreed after the final buzzer.
On Friday Comox outshout Oceanside 17-4 in the final frame and 46-27 on the night. The Yetis led that one 2-0 after the first period, and 3-0 after the second. The Generals were 0-for-3 on the power play, Comox 2-for-3. Oceanside starter Kiefer Giroux made a season-high 40 saves in a losing cause.
“We just didn’t capitalize on our chances in that game,” said Demerais, pointing out “we had three breakaways, a goal post and we lost a couple players early in the game due to fisticuffs, they aren’t the ones that should be fighting because we need them in the game. Someone else should have stepped up.”
Travis Flug was gone for fighting 2:02 into that one and Taylor Gray was given the gate midway through the second.
Back at ‘the Place for the final regular season meeting between the two teams, Giroux stopped all 28 shots he faced, posted the shutout and named the games’ first star in what was his last game with the Generals.
The young puckstopper has just been signed to play Jr. A in Texas of all places (see Thursday’s edition of The NEWS for the full story on that).
In Saturday’s game the Glacier Kings carried the play in the first half of the opening frame but a couple big stops by their goalie sparked the Gens who started taking it to the visitors.
Jesse Ursic and Taylor Gray tallied for two goals in two minutes midway through the period for a 2-0 Oceanside lead at the first intermission. Cam McCarrick and Michael Fretz scored the only two goals of the second period, also at the midway point and also two minutes apart.
Joe Chase scored the lone goal of the third 2:29 in, and Giroux and the Generals locked down the win. Chase and Ursic were second and third stars. Gray also chipped in with two helpers for a four point night. Oceanside out shot Comox by period and 31-28 on the night.
“We came out and we played 55 minutes of hockey,” Demerais said when asked what the biggest difference was on Saturday. “The guys were working hard, and it was a team win for sure. I thought our passing was really crisp, especially in the neutral zone,” he told The NEWS.
“It was huge — a great bounce-back game for us,” said Demerais. “It really restored the confidence in our guys, and I’m sure the fans enjoyed it as well.”
As for his puck-stopper, “Kiefer turned in a stellar performance in both games I tell ‘ya,” he said, and pointed to the wild scramble in front of the net in the dying minutes of Saturday’s game in which the local hockey product showed some great acrobatics to secure the shutout.
Both teams have four regular season games remaining — the split puts Oceanside at 19-22-2; four points back of Comox (21-20-2) for second in the North division.
The Generals are down Island against the Peninsula Panthers (21-20-3) on Friday, and return home Saturday to tangle with he league leading 42-1-2 Victoria Cougars (7:30 p.m. start).