The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals opened their Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League campaign with a 5-2 win at the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Sept. 5.
But in their first home game of the season at Oceanside Place Sept. 7, the Generals got tripped by the Westshore Wolves, 2-1 in a closely contested match.
Against the Buccaneers, the Generals had little success every time they were in Nanaimo at the start of the season. But this time it was different.
The Generals showed they have the arsenal to compete this year and handed the Buccaneers their first home opener loss in their franchise history. They led first on a power-play goal by Liam Moody and ended the first period tied. In the second, Brad Cimaglia put the Generals ahead on a power play and Brady Kay made it 3-1. The Buccaneers were able to cut the lead to just one by with less than three minutes left, Dawson Heathcote made it 4-2. Heathcote snared another marker in the third to seal the win for the Generals. The Buccaneers outshot the Generals 40-20 but were unable to solve goalie James Brendeland, who earned the win between the pipes with 38 saves.
Over the weekend, the Generals took on the Wolves. It was a fairly even match that featured a goalie duel between Generals backstopper Brendeland and the Wolves’ Jacob Haydar.
The Generals found the back of the net first when Landon Dziadyk scored late in the first. But in the second, the Generals had two defensive lapses that the Wolves capitalized on. The Generals paid dearly for the mistakes because despite having several good chances to score, they were unable to break Haydar’s wall, as he stopped everything that was launched his way.
The Generals’ frustrations mounted in the third period as they took a couple of untimely penalties, which didn’t help their cause.
Goalie Brendeland made some good saves that kept the Generals in contention. He turned away 37 shots.
Head coach Dan Lemmon and assistant coach Scott Bickerton were missing from behind the bench in both games as they are serving a three-game suspension that was incurred from the last game of the playoffs last year. Leading the team was interim coach Troy Newans, assistant coach Chris Lennox and Clayton Peace.
Lennox credited the Wolves goalkeeper for playing a solid game.
“We had a number of opportunities to score but we just couldn’t bury it,” said Lennox. “They looked tired tonight as well and it cost us two points, unfortunately. Full marks to Westshore. They played well tonight.”
Lennox said defence was the difference in the game. It’s a crucial component in the Generals’ game they need to sharpen this season.
“We got to clean up our defensive zone,” said Lennox. “We got a little scrambly there at times.”
As well, the Generals need to play with more discipline, said Lennox.
“If we just play our game, a heavy, physical game, we’re going to come away with wins,” he said. “Tonight, we kind of veered from the game plan a bit.”
ICE CHIPS: The Generals are back in action against the Victoria Cougars at Oceanside Place at 7 p.m. Then on Saturday, they travel to the Comox Valley to face the Glacier Kings at 7 p.m. at the Comox Valley Sports Centre.