The Oceanside Generals wrapped up the regular season of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey league with an impressive, record-setting 23-game winning streak.
They beat the host Saanich Predators 6-2 on Friday night and are now shifting their focus on the first round of the playoffs that start on Wednesday, March 1, against the Port Alberni Bombers.
In their final regular season game, the Generals found themselves trailing 1-0 at the end of the first but shifted their game to another level in the next two frames to turn the momentum in their favour.
Aidan Mailhot started the scoring for the Generals that led to three successive goals netted by Dante Paziuk, Brendan Carlson and Miles Carson before the Predators scored again to make it 4-2. But the Generals added two more goals scored by Parker Klippenstein and Tyler Gyori to seal the win. Goalkeeper Ashton Sadauskas made 24 saves to earn his 21st win in the regular season.
The Generals has won the VIJHL regular season title but that’s not enough for the players, and not what they’ve been working hard on since the season began. They want the Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy — awarded to the league playoff champions. Their hunger and desire was pretty evident when they set a new VIJHL record of 23 consecutive victories. They have not lost a game since late November last year.
They have an unfinished business they want to achieve this season. They’re using the crushing loss they endured in the final of the VIJHL playoff last year to eventual champions Peninsula Panthers to motivate them and it’s been working for them.
“We went to the finals last year and we lost in Game 6,” said head coach Dan Lemmon. “We have a lot of returning players. We have a really tight group. We have a group of kids that have played together for a long time now. So come playoff time, we will be self-motivated to win after the heartbreaking Game 6 loss last season and not wanting that to happen again. It’s kind of fueled the season we’ve had right now.”
The Generals finished the regular season with 41 wins, three losses, two overtime losses and two shootout losses for a league leading total of 86 points. They are set to take on in the first round of the playoffs the North Division’s fourth ranked team, Port Alberni Bombers, on Wednesday night (March 1) at Oceanside Place at 7 p.m. Against the Bombers during the regular season, the Generals have won all six of their encounters.
The other playoff match in the North Division will pit the second-place Campbell River Storm against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
In the South Division, Victoria Cougars will take on Kerry Park Islanders while the Saanich Predators face the Peninsula Panthers.