The youth excuse is getting old, and the Generals are regrouping this week after a pair of puzzling losses.
Oceanside’s boys of Jr. B hockey lost 3-2 to the VIJHL’s short-benched, third place Peninsula Panthers on Friday, then came up short by the same score in overtime to the last place Campbell River Storm on home ice Saturday.
In his post-weekend recap, Gens’ head coach and GM Dave Johnston said in both cases the results would have been different had his players followed the game plan — a game plan they have been preaching since the start of the season.
On Friday, the Panthers were missing some key players and appeared to be ripe for the picking, but the Generals came out flat and both teams looked listless.
Back at it the following night at Oceanside Place, the Generals continued to have trouble against the Storm and their kamikaze style of hockey.
It was the Gens’ fifth straight loss on home ice, and second consecutive loss to the Storm, who were coming off a 6-0 lambasting at the hands of the first place Glacier Kings on Friday.
While both losses stung, the one against Peninsula was particularly puzzling said Johnston because they went into the game knowing the Panthers were missing key players.
“Again, it’s this lack of commitment to our game plan. It’s troubling,” said the longtime coach.
“We as the coaching staff pride ourselves in our preparation for our opponents, and when your players aren’t committed to executing what’s put in front of them, it’s frustrating. We have very few games left to figure things out, and all we can do is hope that these guys figure it out.”
While Saturday’s game against the Storm lacked execution, it did have plenty of fireworks as both teams tried to impose their will on the other by way of body checks and rough stuff.
“From an entrainment perspective it was a good game, but we really feel that we played down to our competition and didn’t take charge,” said Johnston. “They definitely bring it — they work their cans off that team,” Johnston agreed when asked about the Storm’s in-your-face play, “but having said that, if you play within the confines of what we need our guys to do, that shouldn’t effect us at the level it did effect us.”
Asked how he handled Saturday’s loss in the dressing room Johnston made the point, “we need to push hard as coaching staff, and yeah, we’re disappointed, and our guys are disappointed.
“I always use the analogy of the boy that cried wolf — you have to pick our spots when to get emotional with your team,” he said, “and last night I was very emotional. I felt very strongly that we didn’t get what we need from our guys, and I let them know that.”
Now 18-16-0-4, the Generals find themselves only two points up on Kerry Park in their battle for first round home ice advantage.
The Gens are in Saanich on Friday against the Braves and return home to ‘The Place Saturday to tangle with the Panthers again (7:30 p.m. start).