Carter Johnson still remembers the disappointment he felt when the Oceanside Generals lost in the final of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs last year.
The league’s leading scorer is using that to motivate him this season.
Johnson paced the Generals to a 10-0 win against the Port Alberni Bombers on Saturday night at Oceanside Place (Feb. 18) for their 21st consecutive win. He scored a hattrick and had two assists to collect his 100th point of the season.
It’s a milestone that he welcomes, but it’s not what Johnson and the rest of the Generals are aiming for. They want to the win the playoffs and provincial championships.
“You don’t really want to set too many individual games for yourself,” said Johnson after the game. “I kind of want to just focus on the team’s goal and stuff. But as the season got on, it’s something you think about and after we clinched first place in the division I just want to win hockey games and do my best. One hundred points is nice but I am looking forward to the playoffs even more.”
Johnson said they want to get the job done this time and not repeat the disappointment they experienced when they lost in the final of the playoffs against the eventual champions Peninsula Panthers.
“That’s really lingering in my mind, as last year we talked about it in the dressing room after we lost game six that way we did, I kind of didn’t prepare the best for the final series and stuff,” said Johnson. “It’s what all of the guys from last year have been carrying with them this year, and all of the guys that have stepped in have noticed that and have been carrying it with them as well.”
The Generals have not lost a game since late November last year. And with the season winding down, the Generals face the challenge of not taking any team for granted. And it showed against the Bombers. Generals aggressive forechecking and solid transition in defence made it a tough night for the Port Alberni team.
“Every opponent from here on, we’re going to take our best hockey to no matter who it is, how good, where they come from,” said Johnson. “We’re going to do our best to take it to them.
The Generals led from start to finish and did a good job of preserving the shutout for goalie Ashton Sadauskas, who turned away 20 shots.
The other scorers for the Generals were Dante Paziuk, Jacob Thomas, Nolan Wyatts, Nolan Kehoe, Brendan Carlson, Tyson Pauze and Jordan Harvey.
Johnson said keeping the winning streak going is nice but it’s not what they want to achieve. They have two more games left to play in the regular season against Lake Cowichan (Feb. 22) and Saanich Predators (Feb. 24).
“It would be nice to close out the regular season that way but then again as long as we’re playing our best hockey come playoff time, then the last two games in the regular season, we’re going to look back and forget about them eventually,” said Johnson.