The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals finally sank the formidable Nanaimo Buccaneers, 3-2, much to the delight of home fans at Oceanside Place on Wednesday night, Nov. 22.
The Generals have had some close games against the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s second-best team, which prior to Wednesday had beaten Oceanside in four successive games.
But not this time.
After scoreless and closely contested first period, the opportunities went the Generals’ way in the second period when the Buccaneers took a couple of penalties to set up the hosts with a 5-on-3 situation. The Generals were able to capitalize on one, scored by Landon Dziadyk at 13:24, to give the home team the lead, their first this season against the Buccaneers. The Generals had another four-minute power play to work on but blew that opportunity when they gave up a shorthanded goal netted by former General Brandon Roberge to tie things up.
It looked like the Generals were heading for another collapse just like they had in their previous game against Peninsula Panthers, in which they gave up three short-handed goals.
“The nice thing and great thing is this team didn’t fold,” head coach Jesse Hamill said. “We bent a little but we didn’t break, even when they scored that little shortie there at the end of the power play. That could have been the one that killed the team, but we kept going.”
In the final frame, the Generals got themselves in a bind due to undiscipline play. The Buccaneers pressured the Generals but were unable to get the defence to capitulate. Goalie Aaron Jakubowski thwarted a barrage of shots to frustrate the Buccaneers. At 11:08, just after the Generals killed a penalty, Oceanside sniper Max Creighton, with the help from Taylor Olson and Brandon Hannibal, scored on a breakaway to beat Bucs goalie Derek Krall. Creighton scored again at 14:38 to give the Generals a 3-1 lead.
The Buccaneers went all-out after and, in the last two minutes, pulled Krall from goal for an extra attacker. They were able to score one second before the final buzzer sounded.
“The guys did a phenomenal job,” said Hammill. “Tonight we compressed and took all their opportunities away. Jakubowski was phenomenal tonight. He was awesome. When we needed him, he was there.”
This was just Jakubowski’s second win. He turned away 42 of the 44 shots he faced to earn the second star of the game.
The first star of the night was Creighton, who has scored nine goals and has six assists already this season. He said afterward the players were “freaking out” a bit after giving up the short-handed goal, but they kept their composure in the third.
“It was a tough one,” said Creighton. “I think they’re leading the league in short-handed goals. But we talked about it in the dressing room and we came out flying in the third.”
The Generals head to Saanich on Friday, Nov. 24, night to take on the Braves at George Pearkes Arena at 6:30 p.m. They are back at home at Oceanside Place this Saturday, Nov. 25, against Peninsula Panthers at 7 p.m.