Domenic Kolbeins scored on penalty shot with 3:23 left in the game to force overtime, Liam Giroux made 54 saves, and the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals salvaged a point on home ice Saturday night with a 4-4 tie against the Campbell River Storm in VIJHL action.
“It feels great,” Giroux, 17, surmised through a smile outside the Gens’ dressing room after the game, adding “I was really nervous going into the overtime, it was nerve-wracking.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said of what is amounting to a baptism by fire for the easy going young goalie from Qualicum Beach who is playing his first season of junior hockey. “It’s really skilled it’s a lot more skilled than Major Midget. I like it a lot better,” and agreed “I’ve faced a lot of rubber (but) I seem to play better when I face more shots.”
Asked about his teammates, who battled back from behind three times,” they worked hard, we all worked hard, it was a good team effort.”
An exciting, free-wheeling game in front of another good-sized crowd, the Storm out shot the Generals 58-42 Saturday night, and Giroux, named the Games first star seemed to get stronger as the game wore on.
Campbell River scored the only goal of the opening period, and went up 2-0 early in the second stanza, but Ryan Scott (Colton Burt) and Ethan Larson (unassisted), struck for two goals in under two minutes to tie the game 2-2. The Storm countered to go up 3-2 just over a minute later, and Logan Savard (Greg Tuckerman, Jonah Pearson) tied it up 3-3 at 11:41.
Campbell River scored with under four minutes left in second to take a 4-3 lead into the final frame, and the two teams traded chances until Kolbeins was hauled down on a breakaway then made good on the ensuing penalty shot much to the delight of the hometown fans.
Neither team would score during the five minute sudden death 4-on-4 overtime period, or the five minute sudden death 3-on-3 overtime period, which is how it ended.
“That was really exciting game, it just sucked they didn’t go to the shootout after no one scored in overtime,” said a ticked off Micaela ‘Nibbs’ Cameron, an avid fan of the Generals.
On Friday night in Campbell River, the Storm out shot the Gens 64-36 and secured a 5-3 win, meaning Giroux faced 122 shots over the two games. Brodie Smith, Ethan Larson and Dylan Moore tallied for Oceanside.
The Gens were 0-for-4 on the power play Saturday night and 0-for-7 over the two-game series.
“I thought we were a lot better then we were the night before,” Generals’ head coach and GM Brent Demerais said in his post-game interview Saturday night. “Our younger guys are really starting to improve now, and our goaltending was solid. We’re coming together more as a team, and I like the fact they never quit.”
“He’s been on fire, making the big saves and giving us an opportunity to stay in these games right now,” Demerais said of Giroux. “He gives us a chance to win every night; we’re still working hard on our back end, trying to eliminate shots and stuff, but we like what we’re seeing.
“All in all it was like a win for us.”
ICE CHIPS: The Generals have parted ways with 20-year-old local forward Kelyn Opel.
Opel, who tallied for five goals and three assists in his six games with the Gens this season, was sent to the North Peace Navigators of the North West Junior League in Alberta for cash in a deal that also included the rights to Nanaimo forward Jordan Clark who quit the team two games into the season.
“He’s moving on — it was a mutual agreement,” was all Demerais would say.
GAME ON: Now 1-5-1 on the season and sitting last in the VIJHL’s four-team North Division, the Generals take their game to Bear Mountain Arena Wednesday night when they face the 3-4-1 Westshore Wolves and return home for a weekend double header at Oceanside Place that has them playing the 1-5-1 Kerry Park Islanders Saturday night (7:30 p.m. start) and the 2-4-1 Comox Valley Glacier Kings Sunday (2:30 p.m. start).