The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals weren’t pointing fingers following Saturday’s 5-1 home loss to the Campbell River Storm.
Probably because they didn’t have enough fingers.
Trailing just 2-1 on Mitch Cook’s second period goal, and riding a wave of momentum into the third period, the Generals (2-5-0-1) came out flat as the league-leading Storm (8-1-0-0) pulled away to the one-sided Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League victory.
“We’re a quarter of the way through the season now and we’re still having this issue of putting together 60 minutes (of play),” Generals assistant coach Chris Lennox said as whoops echoed from the Storm dressing room down the hall.
“We had a good last five minutes of the first and we had a good second period. I’m not sure why we didn’t carry it over.”
Oceanside was outshot 28-2 in the dismal final period and 54-19 for the game as it fell to the bottom of the VIJHL’s four-team North Division standings, one point behind the Nanaimo Buccaneers.
The Generals travel to Peninsula for a Friday night road game before returning home to host the Comox Valley Glacier Kings Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
About 200 fans, many of whom travelled from Campbell River for the game, saw the Generals introduced wearing pink toques to recognize the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
After Campbell River jumped to a 2-0 lead in a fast-paced opening period, the Generals’ fans were the ones making the noise as their team took control of the run of play against the reigning provincial bronze medalists.
Mitch Cook of the Oceanside Generals, right, leaps to avoid a check by Campbell River's Cole Slaney during the teams' VIJHL game at Oceanside Place Arena Saturday. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/NEWS Staff
The opportunistic Cook drew the Generals to 2-1 at 5:31 of the second, moments after the Storm had killed off their first penalty of the game.
With his teammates crashing the net in a scrum in front of Campbell River goalie Zak Myrowich, Cook found a loose rebound off the left post and sent it through a sliver of daylight to touch off the celebration.
Though the Generals did not score again, they continued to carry the momentum and kept the fans engaged into the second intermission, outshooting the visitors 11-9 in the period.
“We had a really good second period. We outshot ‘em, we outhit ‘em; we were skating them through the wall. It was great,” said Lennox. And we just could not carry that momentum through the third period.”
The Storm’s Max Daerendinger rifled in a wrist shot from the circle just 52 seconds into the third to restore Campbell River’s two-goal lead. The shot served as a needle that seemed to punctured the Generals’ bubble.
After the game, the team spent an extended period meeting behind a closed dressing-room door.
Lennox did allow that the Generals have four defensemen hurt, and team captain Logan Savard remains out until at least the end of October with an upper-body injury suffered in the team’s home opener against Westshore Sept. 10.
But the coach also noted the Generals played just one game in each of the last two weeks, and fatigue was not to blame for the flat final period.
“For whatever reason, the guys came out flat,” he said. “Campbell River scores one early in the third and we’re fighting an uphill battle after that. We have all the momentum going into the third, and couldn’t keep it going.