Thirteen games left, 12 points out of a playoff spot. That’s the predicament the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals find themselves in heading for the home stretch.
The Generals have one game in hand on the eighth place Saanich Braves and will look to gain some ground this weekend with a home-and-home series against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
The Glacier Kings sit in third place in the north division, ahead of the last place Generals.
“We’ve come together as a team in a different way with coach (Bill) Bestwick coming in. We know we’re up against the wall in terms of getting there but I think we can do it, especially having the new coach pushing us, for sure,” said 17-year-old forward Mikey Markland.
With one win and one loss under their new head coach Bill, the Generals need help not only on their end in terms of wins, but losses going the way of Saanich would help the Generals get that much closer to the playoffs.
“If we can keep up the way we’ve been playing under the new coach, we’ll be in a good position from here on out. We got out to a quick start last game and we’ve been trying to keep things simple, so it’s been working out so far,” said Parksville’s Chandler Bruyckere, 18.
Players say Bestwick has been keeping it simple, implementing more of a puck possession, puck pursuit game and making sure the team is aware of positional responsibility and their discipline.
“It’s new for the team but it’s not new for me,” Bestwick told The NEWS. “We’ve really been trying to keep it simple and focus on making the most out of our possessions with the puck. The team has shown a willingness to be open and accept the different style of play I’ve been proposing.”
The Generals will have some returning players this weekend as Logan Savard and Daine Elphicke are returning from their suspensions. Defenceman Liam Peel will also be back in the lineup after missing games last weekend with an injury. This means the Gens won’t have to dress as many affiliate players as they did last weekend.
“I’m sure that Comox is viewing these as must-win games as well to stay close to the top of the division and in the overall picture,” said Bestwick. “As far as I’m concerned, I’d like to set our level a little bit higher and see where we compare now with one of the better teams in the league. Until we’re eliminated mathematically from the playoffs, every game is winnable to me.”.
Friday night the two teams play in Comox and Saturday night they return to Oceanside Place. Puck drop is 7:30 on Saturday night and you can catch Friday’s game on 88.5 FM The Beach, with Dominic Abassi in the play-by-play booth.