With just six games left in the schedule, the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals will look to get back into the win column before season’s end, building up towards a wild-card playoff game.
Saturday night, the Generals will take on the Campbell River Storm at Oceanside Place (puck drop at 7:30 p.m.).
The Generals are looking up at the first-place Storm, as is the rest of the VIJHL. The Storm sit in first place overall with 74 points.
Travis Flug, a 20-year-old out of Parksville, knows it won’t be easy regardless of who they’re facing, but the experience of going through everything last season with the Generals has prepared Flug for being in this position.
“It’s tough being in this spot, we were here last year too so it’s tough,” Flug said.
“You have to try and keep all of that out of your mind when you get out there though, it’s literally one game at a time. It doesn’t matter who’s in first place and who’s in last place — if you come ready to play there’s always a chance to come away with the win.”
Last weekend, the Generals didn’t come ready to play and were on the losing end of a 10-2 game against the Saanich Braves.
“There’s no excuses — we should have been ready for that one,” Flug said.
“We dug ourselves a hole in the first two periods and that was it. We need to put ourselves in a better position to come out right off the opening face-off. It’s a matter of effort and it all comes down to who wants to put the effort in.”
Systems have been an issue at various time for the Generals this season, with the team buying in at certain points to play the way the coaches want them to play, then straying from the game plan and finding themselves scrambling around.
“Yeah, systems can be a tricky thing for any team,” Flug said. “You need everyone to buy in and really work at doing their part in what is trying to be told to us as a team. When you have guys who aren’t quite there and buying into the systems, it makes it tough on everyone.”
With the end of the season on the horizon, the Generals aren’t out of the playoff picture just yet. They know a chance at the playoffs is still a possibility, but according to forward Logan Savard, it’s not something that the team should be looking forward to just yet.
“We aren’t going to be able to walk into the wild card game,” Savard said. “We can’t expect that at all. We’ve talked about preparing for the last game and we can’t do that as a team. We have games left before we even get there and we need to use these games to break those bad habits to come out and give it our best shot.”
Saturday night’s game marks the second to last home game for the Generals this season, as they will wrap up their season at home on February 14 against the Nanaimo Buccaneers.