The last time the Oceanside Midget Generals faced last-place Juan de Fuca, the Grizzlies handed the Gens an opening-round loss in the Comox Christmas hockey tournament.
In the resumption of Vancouver Island Hockey League play last weekend at Oceanside Place, the Generals made sure it wouldn’t happen again.
Duncan Cairns and Bailey Kaario scored two goals each and Oceanside blazed out of intermission with four unanswered goals to pull away for an 8-4 win over the visiting Grizzlies Saturday afternoon.
“We couldn’t let up on these guys; they had a good comeback last time and we knew we had to play strong in order to beat ‘em,” said Cairns. “When we were up we had to finish them off, and we got a few goals when we were up 5-4 to finish it.”
The Generals (5-2-2 in league play) started the contest locked in a goal-trading slog with the Grizzlies (1-8-1).
Cairns gave the hosts a brief, 3-2 lead with his first goal, a short-handed breakaway that hit the crossbar before bouncing off the back of Grizzlies goaltender Payton Fekete.
Juan de Fuca knotted the score 3-3 on a one-timer from the slot by Connor McClelland less than two minutes later, but that would be the Grizzlies’ last crack at the net until the closing moments of the game.
Christian Stokes of the Oceanside Midget Generals carries the puck into the Juan de Fuca zone ahead of Grizzlies defender Coveny Horgan during Saturday’s league game at Oceanside Place. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS
Jose Hope gave Oceanside the lead for good when he converted the rebound of Kaario’s shot just before the mid-game ice cleaning, and the Generals came out of the break in dominant fashion, scoring four consecutive goals to push their lead to 8-3.
“We came out slow; the rust was there,” midget coach Clinton Sutherland said. “But that goes with the conditioning, missing two weeks of hockey. After the second half, that was us. We came out and I was very happy with the way we played, getting pucks deep, opening up the ice D-to-D and everyone playing their role.”
Christian Stokes scored shortly after the teams returned to the ice, and Kaario, Cairns and Michael Stewart each scored goals in the third period before Juan de Fuca added a meaningless goal with 3:44 to play.
Riley MacDonald also scored for the Generals, whose offense was spread around in the win.
Tyler Blaine earned the win in goal for Oceanside and got a shout-out from Cairns for his effort during the team’s shaky start.
“We didn’t play our best the first period,” Cairns said. “After we came into the half we had a talk and we stepped up our game. But our goalie definitely helped us out in the first period.”
The midgets, tied for second in the league standings with Powell River, return to Meeker Arena Saturday to host the Kings in a key matchup at 4:30 p.m.
The Bantam and Peewee Generals had an extended break from league play with byes last weekend.
The peewees have a home doubleheader this weekend, hosting Juan de Fuca Saturday at 2:15 p.m. and Powell River Sunday at 10:15 a.m.
The bantams, unbeaten atop the league standings, travel to face Peninsula Sunday.