Oceanside Generals foward Brent Koch

Oceanside Generals foward Brent Koch

Generals cough up early lead, fall 5-3

Junior hockey club 'outworked' in 5-3 loss to Westshore at Parksville's Oceanside Place Arena

A week earlier, the Quality Foods Oceanside Generals were happy to skate away with what’s commonly known as an “ugly win”.

Saturday night at Oceanside Place Arena, it was just ugly.

The Generals jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead in the first 13 minutes of play, but were shut down the rest of the way as the visiting Westshore Wolves rallied for a 5-3 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League victory.

“We’ve been on the board early quite a bit lately,” Generals coach Gerry Bickerton said. “We just haven’t been following through. The work ethic just wasn’t there tonight. We got outworked by that club; they were better than us tonight.”

The Generals (5-17-0-1) have taken the first lead in their last five contests, including the final three games of a seven-game losing streak that ended with an 8-6 win over Peninsula Nov. 19.

Caleb Griffin put the Gens on the board in the opening three minutes on a sneaky power-play goal, on which he cycled out of the corner and faked a pass to the slot before whirling from a steep angle and rifling a wrist shot off the back of Wolves goalie Jordan Spandli.

Local product Landon Dziadyk made it 2-0 at 11:50 when he gathered a cross-ice pass from newcomer Rowan Lougheed and found the open side of the net before Spandli could recover.

Oceanside Generals foward Matthew Rokosh, centre, gets tangled up with Westshore’s Spencer Knight in front of the Wolves’ net during the teams’ Junior B hockey game Saturday at Oceanside Place Arena. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS

The Wolves (7-13-2-1) drew to 2-1 on a rebound goal at 12:12 that caught Generals netminder Wes Ellingsen down after he made a sprawling save, but Oceanside needed just 12 seconds to restore its two-goal margin on a point blast from blueliner Bekkam Willis.

But any hope of starting a new winning streak against Westshore went by the boards when Oceanside’s 3-2 first-period lead evaporated in a second period in which the Wolves controlled the puck in the Generals’ zone and scored three unanswered goals to jump ahead 5-3.

While the Generals tightened up defensively in the third period, they were unable to establish a consistent forecheck and never really threatened to turn the game around over the final 20 minutes.

“Tonight we had a full roster, and some of the guys who have been passengers for the past couple of weeks saw some time on the bench because their efforts need to be better,” said Bickerton. “It’s frustrating to see. We’ve got 12 forwards, and four of them worked hard tonight, the way I saw it.”

The Generals had been skating short-handed for the past several weeks due to a series of injuries. One of the players back Saturday was forward Bobby Jo Love, who missed nearly two months after suffering a concussion in an early October game against Campbell River.

Love bounced back after hitting the ice hard on a first-period hit, and collected an assist on the Gens’ third goal.

“The first couple shifts were a little hazy; I forgot how to dress myself in hockey gear before this game,” Love joked. “But once I got a couple of shifts under my belt and got a couple hits in, it was back to normal. It felt good to play again.”

The Generals travel to face league-leading Campbell River Friday evening at Rod Brind’Amour Arena. They will return home Saturday to host Nanaimo at 7:30 p.m.