The Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals earned a split last week, beating the Nanaimo Buccaneers Thursday and losing to the Campbell River Storm Friday.
That leaves the Generals — with two games remaining in the regular season — facing a wild card game against the Saanich Braves on the horizon to see which will make the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) playoffs.
Following their 4-2 win over the Buccaneers, the Generals were on the road to take on the Storm, losing 7-3.
“I thought we played great the first 20 minutes in Campbell River,” head coach Brad Knight said. “Shots were close in the first, I thought the kids hung in there and skated well. We took four straight penalties in a row and Campbell River scored on each power play. That’s the definition of a team that’s in first place and they made us pay. We let it get away and lost our nerve a little bit, hopefully we’ll be able to correct that before we play against Saanich.”
Sitting three points behind the Braves, the Generals still have an outside chance at moving into eighth place in the standings and could host the wild card playoff game if they finish ahead of the Braves.
“We’re going to focus on getting ready for that game,” Knight said. “We know we’re going to face Saanich and the chances of playing in their rink are there, which we’re fine with.”
“We’ve beaten them on their ice and they’ve beaten us on ours. I think we’ll use the last couple of games to make sure everyone gets some ice time, evaluate our guys a little more and pick the best lineup we can put forward for the game against Saanich. We just need to play with confidence and play like we want to move onto the playoffs.”
The majority of the Generals’ wins have come on the road this season, far surpassing the two wins combined over their last two seasons.
“We play well on the road, we have all year, we’ve won in Saanich and I don’t see any reason why we can’t do it again,” Knight said. “It’s not a rink that we’re uncomfortable playing in, we know we can skate and we’ve got the skill to beat them.”
“Sure, we’re lacking the experience most of the teams in the league have but that’s fine with me. We’re going to be alright, these guys are learning every time they step on the ice and I think we’ll be just fine.”
In the meantime, the Gens’ last two regular games take place this Friday and Saturday night. They are back on the road taking on the Peninsula Panthers on Friday (7:30 p.m.) and will close the regular season at home against the Victoria Cougars at 7:30 Saturday night.