Make it three straight losses for the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Nanaimo Buccaneers and a 6-2 loss to the Victoria Cougars.
Saturday evening marked the second weekend in a row the Generals hosted the Cougars, which saw the Gens losing 5-2 on October 18 and 6-2 last Saturday night. Two straight losses to the Cougars coupled with a loss to the Buccaneers in a feisty game last Thursday has the Generals sitting at 2-14-1 and looking for a change of fortune on the ice.
“We’ve got a good team here but I think we’re a little loose before games,” defenseman Tanner Browne said after the loss Saturday night.
“We need to find our focus so we can come out strong at the opening face off. Too often we find ourselves behind early and we need guys to step up, whether it’s myself before the next game or someone else, something needs to be said to fire the boys up before we hit the ice.”
Goals for the Generals on Saturday night came from Kyle Wade, who made a tremendous play, going to the net with his stick on the ice to finish off a spectacular pass from P.J. Heger, which knots both Wade and Heger at six goals a piece, tops for the Gens this season.
Tanner Browne also added a goal of his own, an angry blast from the blue line that beat the Cougars’ Anthony Ciurro, who had only seen about eight shots at the half way mark of the second period.
“We simply need to develop better habits and the ability to play a sixty minute game,” head coach Chuck Kessler said.
“We play really well for two minutes or five minutes at a time and then we take a shift off. Emotionally, it’s tough on a team that hasn’t had a lot of success. We’re trying to develop those good habits and a sense of composure that will allow us to weather any future storms that come up for us on the ice.”
It’s been an adjustment, for both coaches and players, since Kessler took over as head coach for Jason Johns. With three games under his belt as a head coach, Kessler likes what he’s seen and knows that there’s more to come.
“We’re getting some grit, we’re starting to be more difficult to play against,” Kessler said. “We’re doing all those things that aren’t a lot of fun, taking hits to make a play, winning puck battles along the board.”
“It’s a lot different for them compared to when they were younger,” he said. “It’s not just about the fun stuff anymore, you have to be willing to do the dirty work, taking hits, making hits, going to the dirty areas.”
The Generals are back in action this week on Thursday for their third meeting in the last two weeks against the Victoria Cougars, in Victoria (7 p.m. start time).
The local team then hosts the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Saturday, Nov. 1, with face-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.