The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals opened the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season with back-to-back losses against two of the league’s top clubs, the Campbell River Storm and Nanaimo Buccaneers.
The Generals were blanked by the regular season and playoff champion Storm 6-0 on the road on Sept 7. Then the next day, they suffered another setback, 4-2 against the Buccaneers in their first home game at Oceanside Place.
Head coach Jesse Hammill indicated the scores do not truly reflect how the Generals played in both games.
“It wasn’t bad (against the Storm),” said Hammill. “We were right with them for 45 minutes and we had 15 minutes that weren’t good. It was a good hockey game. I like it when people look at the score and think that we played garbage. We didn’t. We played well but ran out of gas.”
Down 2-0 after the first, the Generals kept the Storm within reach in the second period and had man-advantage for a long period in the middle of the frame but were not able to capitalize.
The Storm came back strong in the third and netted four goals to earn the win.
The General were outshot 32-24 and were 0-for-7 on the power play. Goalie Spencer Deakin turned away 26 shots.
Ryan Ignace was named the away player of the game.
Against the Buccaneers, the Generals gave up two easy goals in the first. They turned on the jets in the second and had the Buccaneers on the defensive. The Generals got the crowd cheering as they appeared to have scored. But the referee called it a no goal much to the dismay of the crowd and the coaches. The Generals finally broke the ice and scored their first goal netted by Nick Robinson. The Bucs got the goal back to keep their lead by two at the end of the period.
In the third, the Bucs put the game out of reach when they scored early in the first two minutes. The Generals battled hard and it paid off late in the game when Aleko Karamani blasted one from the point. The Generals pulled the goalie in the last minute but were unable to score.
“I though we were the better team over the course of the game,” said Hammill. “We took it to them (the Bucs) but when we took our foot off the pedal that’s when they got the opportunities. The goals that they scored were all capitalistic goals.”
Hammill said puck luck was on the Buccaneers’ side. He also believes some of the calls against the Generals were questionable.
“Some of the bad luck from my view on the second goal it was very off-side and the goal that we scored that everyone in the building saw and everyone in the net saw,” said Hammill.
“We might have to start investing on goal judges. It doesn’t happen very often but it is very frustrating. That’s a key part of the game. We had momentum and we were going. It deflates the team. That’s two plays that change the course of the game.”
The Generals are still nursing some injuries to four of their key players. They’ve injected new players in the lineup hoping to get them acclimatized to their system.
“It’s a process,” said Hammill. “We will get better.”
The Generals were back on the road on Wednesday night against the Westshore Wolves at the Q Centre. They suffered another shut out loss 6-0.
Tonight, the Generals head to Panorama Recreation Centre to face the Peninsula Panthers at 7:30 p.m.
They face the Panthers again on Saturday but this time at Oceanside Place at 7 p.m.