Oceanside Generals Will Norman clears the puck against the Campbell River Storm during their VIJHL game Saturday night at Oceanside Place. — Michael Briones photo

Generals struggle to calm the Storm

Coach puzzled by Oceanside’s inability to play consistently

The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals had to be extra sharp last week knowing they were facing the league’s top two teams — the Nanaimo Buccaneers and Campbell River Storm.

But they ended up with two contrasting performances. One good, and one disappointing.

They fought hard against the league-leading Buccaneers on Thursday night at the Nanaimo Ice Centre and came close to landing two valuable points.

They had the lead late in the third but were not able to hold on as the Bucs tied it late and scored in overtime with on a power play to snatch the win, 2-1.

The Generals’ Max Creighton, who was wearing a full-face helmet to protect the injury he suffered from a slashing incident against Westshore on Jan. 27, netted Oceanside’s goal on a power play in the third.

Generals’ goalie Jacob Sweet was instrumental in frustrating the Buccaneers, who outshot Oceanside 39-24. He turned away 37 shots.

“He (Jacob) was unbelievable,” said Creighton. “He made some of the most amazing saves I have seen this year.”

Creighton, who had 12 stitches on his nose and will need facial surgery once the season is over, could have sat this game out. He said he didn’t want to miss the game.

“It’s my last year in the league and I just want to play as many games as I can,” said Creighton, who is the Generals’ top scorer with 16 goals and 10 assists.

“The main worry was a concussion. If I had a concussion I wouldn’t be playing. But after I was checked by the doctor I got the green light to play. Definitely in the first period I was a little bit nervous. But I got over it.”

On Saturday night, the Generals hosted the second-best team in the league, the Campbell River Storm.

The Generals were unable to produce that same type of intensity and motivation that they’ve shown against the Buccaneers.

They ended up getting outplayed by the Storm skated away with a 7-0 victory, their second straight shutout of the Generals.

Head coach Jesse Hammill said he is mystified as to why the Generals play so inconsistently and he said he feels they need to do so now if they plan to advance in the playoffs.

“I don’t understand when we can be so good against Nanaimo, playing with such swagger and confidence, and then we play Campbell River, we struggle,” said Hammill. “It’s frustrating.”

The Generals gave up an early goal against the Storm and were still in contention. But they fell apart in the second and third periods. Hammill said the defence wasn’t there and the offence, despite a number of power-play opportunities, was not as sharp as he would like it to be.

“It’s just got to be better,” said Hammill. “And it will. It will get better. You’ve got to try and stay positive in this situation. It was just a bad night all around.”

Hammill expects to come back strong this week when the Generals play back-to-back games against the last-place Comox Valley Glacier Kings, who will host them on Feb. 9 at the Comox Valley Sports Centre at 7 p.m. Saturday night, Feb. 10, it’s the General’s turn to play host against the Glacier Kings at 7 p.m. at Oceanside Place.

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