The Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals earned their first victory of the pre-season last Friday night as they came out on the right side of a 4-1 game over the Nanaimo Buccaneers.
Kicking off the exhibition season, the Generals had goaltending to give them a chance to win the game and returning players finding the back of the net early on in the season.
Forward Jordan Bautista found the back of the net twice, while forwards Logan Savard and Tristan Sailor both lit the lamp for the Gens on the night.
“It was a good way to start off our season,” head coach Brad Knight said.
“Our veteran players that came back to the team showed their leadership on the ice and our first year players were impressive out there too. They fit right in and didn’t look out of place at all.”
The Gens had two first year goaltenders in net, Austin Beauchamp and Matt Henwood. Both goaltenders shared the workload and both showed their ability to get in the game and stop the puck from getting past them.
“I thought our goalies handled themselves well,” Knight said. “We’ve got four goalies right now with the team and one coming in from Michigan this week as well, so there’s going to be lots of healthy competition going around at that position.”
“You don’t win a lot of games without the help of good goaltending and that’s an area we’re going to look to be solid all season long for us.”
For Knight and the Generals, there won’t be much in terms of changes to the roster coming this Wednesday night as the team will once again play the Buccaneers, this time at Oceanside Place with a 7:30 puck drop slated inside Howie Meeker Arena.
“If anything we’ll throw some younger guys in the game,” Knight said. “We’re really looking ahead here right now with the pre-season.”
“We’re interested to see what our team is going to look like in a couple of years from now and the pre-season is where we get to see our young players and what they’ve got to bring to the table.”
With another four games left on their exhibition schedule, the Gens will have lots of time to look at their young talent and make the necessary adjustments to their lineup as well to put the team they want to see play out on the ice before the season kicks off on September 11 against the Campbell River Storm.
“I think it’s going to be a good mix,” Knight said. “We’ve got a good number of returning players from last season and they’re all ready to work hard and prove that last season won’t be the way this team plays this year.”
“We’ll be able to take a real good look at this team going forward with these exhibition games and make the changes we feel we need to but for the most part, I like the guys we’ve got here and we won’t have to do all that much to our roster.”