Oceanside’s Save On Foods Generals only played one game last week, but they made the most of it as they executed a well-earned 4-2 win over the VIJHL’s first place Victoria Cougars.
The 20-5-1 ‘Cougs went 6-2 in November and were coming off a 9-4 rout of the Campbell River Storm. The-then 9-13-1 Generals on the other hand had just snapped a 12-game winless streak against Comox with two straight wins over the North Division champs.
On Saturday, both teams came to play, and the result was a terrifically entertaining contest.
“It was a great game, and our guys played very well,” concurred Gens’ GM and head coach Dave Johnston.
Taylor Gray (Marino Somerville) opened the scoring at 10:29, and Dylan Haugen tallied unassisted just over a minute later to put the Gens up 2-buzz.
The Gens spent a good portion of the opening period on the penalty kill, and Victoria got one by Oceanside starter Michael Gudmandson at 13:35 for a 2-1 Gens’ lead after 20 minutes.
The Cougars outshot the Generals 18-9 in the first, 19-7 in the 3rd, and 44-26 overall.
Justin Polischuk (Nick Bell, Kyle Yamasaki) scored the only goal of the second period with 25 seconds left in the frame to up it to 3-1 Gens after 40 minutes.
Haugen scored his second of the game 5:26 into the third and Victoria got one to go at 13:07, but that would be as close as they’d get.
While there was no shortage of glass-rattling body checks, there were only eight penalties all-in Saturday — the Cougars took five and the Generals three — and neither team scored on the power play.
Worth noting is that two weeks ago Oceanside was second last in the league on the power play — they went into Saturday’s game second best.
Not surprisingly, it was all-Oceanside in the three Stars of the Game selections; Gudmanson’s 42-save effort earned him first star honours, Haugen the second, and Justin Polischuk third.
“For us, execution of the game plan is crucial, and as our guys grow, and their trust (in the system) grows, they’ll continue to improve,” said Johnston.
Johnston also agreed that Gudmanson has been nothing short of a godsend.
“He sure has. He just keeps giving us a chance to win, every night … on Saturday he just proved how good a goalie he is.
“I also thought that Haugen was outstanding, and continues to be a difference maker,” said the veteran bench boss.
Also in the mix and contributing was home-grown D-man Daylon Ohs. Ohs, 17, played a number of games this year as an affiliate player and was signed by the Gens a couple weeks ago.
“He’s been good right from the get-go,” said Johnston.
Winners of three straight, the Generals are in Campbell River Friday, then return home Saturday for the back end of their home-and-home against the Storm (7:30 p.m.)