Bring on the Panthers.
Oceanside’s Save On Foods Generals lost their last two regular season games, but that was then and this is now the playoffs.
In Saanich last Friday against the Braves with third place overall on the line, the short-benched Generals gave up three unanswered second period goals and lost 4-1.
Back home Saturday against the first place Victoria Cougars for the league’s last regular season game, the Gens came up on the short end of a hard-fought 4-2 final.
“We didn’t play very well Friday,” Gens’ GM and head coach Dave Johnston surmised, then made the point, “it’s such a different rink to play in — it’s really small … they got one early; we don’t have a disallowed goal and a couple posts and it’s a different game.”
The Generals were missing five regulars from the lineup.
The Gens bounced back with a great effort in Saturday’s contest — another wide-open entertaining hockey game between two fast teams.
“It was a good game,” agreed Johnston, adding, “I thought we played very well against the top-ranked team in the province, and really, I believe it could have gone either way.”
The two teams traded rushes early. The Generals had carried much of the play with time winding down in the first period and were in the midst of a sustained attack when the Cougars took it against the flow and scored with 27 seconds left in the frame.
Taylor Gray (Dylan Haugen, Kyle Yamasaki) evened it up 48 seconds into the second period, and Victoria scored on the power play at 11:05 to go up 2-1 which is how it stood after 40 minutes.
Victoria scored 57 seconds into the third with the man advantage, then added another at 8:56 to go up 4-1. Gray, who was named the games second star, potted his second of the night at 17:50, but that would be it.
Victoria outshot Oceanside 29-22 on the night. Gens’ backup Joshua Alalouf was in net for the loss.
The Generals finish VIJHL’s 42-game regular season sitting 4th overall in the seven team league, and the focus now is the post season.
“Absolutley. Can’t wait,” said Johnston
Oceanside opens its VIJHL best of seven first round playoff series against the Peninsula Panthers at ‘the Place Wednesday (7:30 p.m. start). The series shifts down Island on Friday, returns to Parksville on Saturday and back in Peninsula Monday.