The Oceanside Bantam Generals didn’t quite have a perfect season in league play, but they weren’t far off.
Having already clinched the Vancouver Island Hockey League Division 2 banner one week earlier, the bantams last weekend capped an unbeaten regular season of league play with a 4-1 victory at Kerry Park Sunday.
The bantams will begin the Tier 2 playoffs this Saturday when they host Campbell River at 2:15 p.m. at Howie Meeker Arena, then travel the next day to Powell River to face the Kings at 1:15 p.m.
Last Saturday, the bantams (8-0-2) opened the final weekend of the regular season by skating to a 3-3 draw with Cowichan Valley at Howie Meeker Arena.
“That’s a good team over there,” bantam coach Troy Newans said. “The boys did their job. We came out a little bit flat but we battled back.”
After spotting the Capitals (4-5-1) the first two goals of the game a minute-and-a-half apart in the first 10 minutes of play, the Generals responded with three straight goals by Steven Callewaert, Cage Newans and Kobe Verbicky to take a 3-2 lead at 17:17 of the first period.
Cowichan tied it at 2:32 of the second on James Joyce’s second goal of the game, but Oceanside goalie Isaac Belveal did not allow another score, even as the Generals were forced to kill seven penalties the rest of the way. Cowichan Valley finished just 1-for-10 on the power play, while Oceanside was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
“You can’t play short-handed the entire game; that’s tough,” said Troy Newans. “But our penalty kill was solid. And our goal-tending was solid today. Isaac had a heck of a game. It was nice to see Isaac step up in a game like that and pull it through.”
In Sunday’s finale at Kerry Park, Belveal allowed just one goal and the slow-starting bantams finally took control when back-to-back goals by Ryan Shaw and Aidan Mailhot in the closing minutes of the second period made it 3-1. Cage Newans added an insurance score in the third period. The Islanders finished 0-10 in league play.
Midgets drop pair
The Oceanside Midget Generals stumbled to a pair of losses on the final week of the regular season and will look to right the ship when the Tier 2 North Island playoffs begin this weekend.
The midgets (5-5-2) dropped a 4-2 decision to Campbell River Saturday at Howie Meeker Arena, then travelled to league-leading Sooke and absorbed a 10-3 defeat to the Thunderbirds (10-2) to close out the Division 2 regular season.
The Generals open the Tier 2 North round-robin playoffs this weekend with a Saturday rematch against Campbell River (6-5-1) at Rod Brind’Amour Arena. The midgets return to Howie Meeker Arena Sunday to host Powell River at 2:15 p.m. The following week, the Generals will host Nanaimo Saturday and visit Comox Valley Sunday to wrap up the round-robin. The top two finishers in the five-team round-robin will advance to face the top two teams from the South Island in crossover semifinal games beginning Feb. 18.
Peewees unleash offence
The Oceanside Peewee Generals closed out the regular season in impressive fashion Sunday, rolling to a 9-4 romp over Victoria Racquet Club in Victoria.
The peewees (7-4-1) finished third in the seven-team league, two points behind Alberni Valley and three points behind Powell River. The Generals will open the Tier 2 North Island round-robin playoffs Saturday with a trip to Nanaimo and return Sunday to host Powell River at noon at Howie Meeker Arena.
The following Sunday the Generals host Comox Valley at noon, then wrap up the round-robin with a trip to Campbell River Feb. 11. The top two finishers in the five-team round-robin advance to the Tier 2 Island semifinals.