It was a rough week for the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals, where off-ice distractions translated into on-ice heartbreak.
Saturday the Gens were home to the Nanaimo Buccaneers and found themselves on the losing end of a 4-3 final. It was a far cry from the game Friday where the Campbell River Storm pummeled them 17-1.
“It was nice to see the team battle back,” forward Mathieu Jallabert said. “Friday was a tough game for all of us and to see us get right back out on the ice and play hard like we did tonight, it was definitely nice to see.”
They fought hard against the Buccaneers after the tough Friday night. Down 4-1 heading into the third, Jallabert and Josh Carless-Jones, who scored his first VIJHL goal, brought the Gens back within a goal of tying it up. The Bucs would hold on, however, for the 4-3 win.
Saturday also marked the return of former Gens, Wyatt Meiers and Jonah Pearson, who now play for the Buccaneers. Meiers was traded earlier in the season and Pearson was recently traded, both for “future considerations.”
“It was different out there, for sure,” said Pearson. Meiers added: “We weren’t sure what it was going to be like but there were a couple of extra shoves here and there, all in good fun though.”
Friday night is a game the team hopes will be erased from the memory bank soon.
“We couldn’t get going at all,” forward Brendan Bilotta said. “It was like a bad dream, a real bad dream. I couldn’t believe the final score when it was all over, just couldn’t believe it. That’s one that we’re going to try and put behind us real fast.”
The loss was hard to take but it seemed par for the course for a team whose president, Sylvain Giroux, and general manager, Lou Gravel, resigned last week. Head coach Chuck Kessler also left the team. Rob Gaudreault, in his third season with the Gens, now takes over as head coach and general manager for the rest of the season.
“At the end of the day, we wanted to make this an easy transition for the players,” Gaudreault said. “Instead of bringing in another new head coach, another person they’d have to get used to, I was asked to fill the role and it made sense. I’ve been with this team and these kids the longest and it’s going to continue that way going forward.”
They will now try to get back on track as they visit the Victoria Cougars, who are in second place. Saturday the Gens are home to take on the Comox Valley Glacier Kings, who sit in fifth.