The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals snapped a five-game losing streak when they beat arch-rival Nanaimo Buccaneers 5-1 Saturday, in a match highlighted by unecessary roughness and fights.
It was the second Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League game of the New Year for the Generals, who prior to the home game against the Buccaneers, suffered a 1-0 loss to the Campbell River Storm on the road on Friday. It was their fifth straight loss dating back to December.
Generals captain Landon Dziadyk said they desperately needed to get back on the winning track.
They knew it wasn’t going to be easy against the Buccaneers, who beat them in a shootout just before the Christmas break.
“It was going so good in November but when December came in it turned bad,” said Dziadyk. “We were all looking forward to the break and we all realized that this is the part where we got to win to get into the playoffs. We been working on it all year and it starts now.”
The first period favoured the Buccaneers, who grabbed the early lead on a goal by Kyler Shmigelsky at 4:33. They kept the Generals on the defensive ends as they go three power-play opportunities.
The Generals penalty killing unit, however, was in top form as they shut out the Buccaneers. Late in the frame, the Generals got their first power play opportunity and they made the Buccaneers pay with newly acquired forward Isaac Leik from the Kerry Park Islanders, scoring his first goal as a General.
Things turned chippy as the game progressed. Players went in and out of the penalty box. The Generals capitalized on their man-advantage opportunities as they netted two goals, scored by Aiden Sutherland and Trey Boylan, to take a 3-1 lead.
There were 17 penalties called in the second period alone.
In the third, the Generals extended their lead to 4-1 on Sutherland’s second goal of the night, 33 seconds into the period. The Generals notched another power-play goal by Dawson Heathcote to make it 5-1. The match turned messier in the third and penalties abound that included the Buccaneers coach getting booted off the bench.
Dziadyk said they always expect a physical and hard game against the Buccaneers.
“They have been our rivals forever and our games every night will be just chippy like that when we play each other,” said Dziadyk.
The Generals top goalie last year, Jacob Sweet was back between the pipes. In his first game, he gave up a goal but was solid throughout turning away a dozen shots to earn his first win for the Generals.
The Generals and Buccaneers face each other again Jan. 18 at Oceanside Place (7 p.m.).
The Generals improved to 21-9-0 and have a slim one-point lead over Campbell River Storm in the North Division standings.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Generals in their games ahead as they take on the second-ranked team in the VIJHL, the Peninsula Panthers, on the road, Jan. 10. The Generals have lost all three games against the Panthers this season
Then on Saturday, Jan. 11, they host the Storm at Oceanside Place at 7 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Sutherland received honourable mention for the the VIJHL Player of the Week. Sutherland collected four points — two goals and two assists — in two games.