The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals were not able to pick up where they left off while streaking into the Christmas break in December.
But at least they got their first goal of 2017.
The Generals, who took a four-game unbeaten streak into the three-week break, suffered a lackluster 5-0 loss at Campbell River Friday night, and were shut out for two more periods Saturday in an eventual 4-1 loss to the visiting Nanaimo Buccaneeers at Oceanside Place Arena.
“It definitely looked like we were still on the break (at Campbell River),” Generals head coach Gerry Bickerton said. “That was something we chatted about after the game. I told the guys it’s one game; let’s chalk it up to a bad game and let’s focus on the four (games) we played before the break. That’s the kind of team we want to be.”
Unfortunately for the Generals (9-22-1-1), that was not the team that showed up Saturday in Parksville, either.
There were improvements. Goaltender Tanner Douglas made 38 saves and allowed just two even-strength goals a night after being pulled early in the second period in Campbell River.
And, after managing just 12 shots on goal in Friday’s shutout loss to the Storm, Oceanside put 33 pucks on net against Nanaimo — and finally pushed one in to make it 3-1 at 6:59 of the third period.
Oceanside Generals forward Matthew Rokosh, centre, puts a shot on Nanaimo goalie Cedric LeSieur after getting a nudge from the Buccaneers’ Seamus O’Toole, left, during Saturday’s VIJHL game at Howie Meeker Arena. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS
Brandon Roberge followed teammate Logan Savard on an end-to-end rush and punched home the rebound after Savard’s shot was steered aside by Nanaimo netminder Cedric LeSieur.
“Savo came in really hot,” said Roberge, who increased his team-leading scoring total to 31 on 17 goals and 14 assists. “I was actually waiting for Savo to dump it back, but he went hard across (the net), and I just picked up the garbage and put it in.
“You always gotta go hard to the net; sometimes that garbage goal is going to be the one that wins you the game.”
The team’s next win will have to wait until at least Thursday, when it travels to Victoria to face the VIJHL-leading Cougars (24-8-0-4) to continue a tough start to open the New Year.
Campbell River (25-8-0-0) leads the North division and Nanaimo (21-13-0-0) has been the league’s hottest team since winning just one of its first eight games.
The Generals return to Oceanside Place on Sunday for a 2:30 p.m. game against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings after travelling to Comox Saturday night.