The fans that turned out at Oceanside Place last Saturday may have been surprised to see Generals’ GM Dave Johnston back behind the bench of local hockey club, but the players themselves were busy responding.
The Generals opened the weekend Friday night in Comox and looked flat in a 6-2 loss to the North Division leading Glacier Kings.
The result dropped them to 2-9-1 on the season and near the bottom of the league’s 42-game regular season standings.
On Saturday in front of a lively crowd hungry for a win, and sporting their new pink-trimmed uniforms in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Generals played hard and beat the defending Cylcone Taylor champion Peninsula Panthers 8-7 in overtime.
Peninsula scored the game’s first two goals, but local product Noah Russi and spitfire Taylor Grobowoski responded to make it 2-2 after 20 minutes.
Colby Lim snapped one home 3:17 into the second period. The Panthers replied just over a minute later to knot it at 3, then Oceanside reeled off the next three goals — Riel Gibson, newest Gen Josiah Habighorst from Colorado and Grobowski on the power play — to put the Gens up 6-3 heading into the final frame.
Peninsula responded with two goals in 14 seconds six minutes into the third to cut the Gens’ lead to 6-5. Travis Briggs bulged the twine at 15:04 to make it 7-5 Gens, but the Panthers clawed back with a power play marker at 17:30, and tied it up with 1:41 left in the game to force overtime.
Grobowski, the game’s first star, finished with a hat trick and a helper for a four point night. He scored 2:25 into extras for a big Oceanside win. D-man Josef Chase was second star.
“He’s a beauty,” Johnston chuckled of Grabowski, from Nanaimo, adding, “overall I thought we were outstanding Saturday night … I think based on the play it should have been a blowout. I thought we followed the game plan very well.”
Peninsula outshot Oceanside 43-36 on the night.
Worth noting is that both teams’ starting goalies were given the hook in this one. Kolding Larson got the start for Oceanside and was pulled after the second goal, and at the other end of the rink Peninsula starter Zach Wear was replaced after 40 minutes.
The Generals travel to the Peninsula Friday to tangle with the Panthers again, then return home Saturday to host the Campbell River Storm with two new goalies on the roster.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.