Take a young squad, throw in some dissension among the ranks and an early season coaching shakeup, and chances are there are going to be a few hiccups.
The Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals are back at work this week with two VIJHL games on tap, and while the wins have not come easy for the Gens, the lone 20-year-old on the team, blueliner Colton Burt, believes the club can turn it around.
“It’s been a rough start to the season and tonight was a really tough game; it’s a tough one to swallow losing to those guys,” Burt, an assistant captain, said after last Saturday’s loss to the Nanaimo Buccaneers.
“We really need to turn it around and get something going here quick.”
Asked what he says to the younger players, the 5’11”, 195 pound D-man said “it’s always tough to lose, and when you’re younger it seems like everything’s going wrong all at once, but as an older guy you have to step it up and show them things do turn around eventually.
“We did some good things tonight,” he said. “We made some good passes, good shots, and had some good pressure in their end, but our defensive end cost us the game tonight, which obviously we need to work on. As a D-man you never want to have seven goals scored on you, it makes you look bad, but it’s going to change, it’s going to turn around, and we’re going to be a good team.”
“The team’s really starting to come together now, and you can see it on the ice. We’re starting to play together more as a team. Things are starting to turn around slowly, we’ve got a bunch of young guys, but it’s going to happen.”
Asked his take on the Generals’ funk from his post making notes from behind glass, Chris Olson, father of Gens’ backup Alex Olson, said: “defensively I think they’re starting to come together, we’re starting to own the middle of the ice which was lacking in the first part of the season. We’re getting tougher, but we’ve gotta be grittier in the corners. They’ve got to bring a little bit more fight, a little more passion into their step.”
“The whole thing about this team, and I believe the whole program itself, is the development of the kids. While they’re not being competitive right now, it’s still early in the season,” he said. “You have to look at it like they’re starting fresh. They are going to work on some stuff, they are going to get better and they are going to gain some momentum.”
“They’re working their asses off,” he said. “They’re trying to win — it’s just going to take time.”
ICE CHIPS: The Generals are 0-7-1-1 on the season when trailing after 40 minutes, a position they’ve been in nine of their last 12 games, and have been outscored 26-6 in their last five games.
The Generals are last in the league in special teams — Campbell River and Westshore are fifth and sixth respectively.
The Wolves come to town Saturday with the VIJHL’s scoring leader in the lineup. Forward Brett Lervold has six goals and 16 helpers for 22 points in 13 games.
GAME ON: The Generals are in Campbell River Friday night for a North Division clash against the Storm, then return home to Oceanside Place Saturday to face the Westshore Wolves. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.