Oceanside Generals forward Landon Dziadyk, centre, attempts to complete a hat trick with a backhand shot on Victoria goalie Nate Reinhart during their VIJHL matchup at Howie Meeker Arena in Parksville Friday, Jan 19, 2018. Dziadyk scored two goals as the Generals won, 3-2. — J.R. Rardon photo

Oceanside Generals stun Victoria, 3-2

Junior B club snaps seven-year losing streak to Cougars

The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals nearly let a two-goal lead slip away in their Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League game against the Victoria Cougars Friday night, Jan. 19.

In the end, though, everything was AO-Kay.

Brady Kay gathered a pass from fellow Nanaimo product Max Creighton in the low crease and snapped a one-timer past Victoria goalie Nate Reinhart at 4:47 of the third period to provide the game-winner, as the Generals ended a seven-year losing streak to the Cougars before a crowd of nearly 200 at Oceanside Place Arena.

The final 17.5 seconds were played with the Cougars skating with a 6-on-4 advantage, after they pulled Reinhart and Kay took a delay-of-game penalty for laying on the puck. Victoria put two shots on winning goalie Jacob Sweet and had several other stopped by the defence in a wild flurry of activity before the horn sounded and the celebration began.

“A couple of guys blocked some shots and came up huge; but I’m 20 years old and getting gray hair,” Creighton joked after the Generals beat the Cougars for the first time since 2011.

The game was the second of a home-and-home series between the teams on consecutive nights. On Thursday, the Generals (16-19-1-3) travelled to Victoria and jumped to a 1-0 lead, but were unable to hang on as VIJHL South-leading Victoria (21-16-1-1) rallied for a 5-3 victory.

On Friday, the rematch at Howie Meeker Arena in Parksville started much the same.

Landon Dziadyk of Qualicum Beach gave the Generals a 2-0 lead when he bookended the first intermission with a pair of goals — both assisted by linemates Brodie Smith and Mitch Cook. Dziadyk’s first tally came with 46 seconds left in the opening period and snapped a scoreless tie. The second came just 23 seconds after the puck dropped to start the second.

Dziadyk goals were his 12th and 13th of the year as he and Creighton (14 goals, 10 assists) moved within two points of team scoring leader Greyson Weme (14 goals, 12 assists).

Aided by a series of Oceanside penalty kills in the second period, the Cougars rallied to tie the game 2-2 entering the third period.

Foster Martin of Port Alberni, who skated for the Generals a season ago, drew Victoria to 2-1 with a steep-angle shot from the end line at 6:32 of the second, moments after the Gens had killed a penalty.

Teammate Kyle Wade got the tying marker at 17:59 on a quick rebound from the low circle, after Generals goalie Jacob Sweet steered aside Landon Kitchen’s one-timer from the slot.

“We weren’t breaking; we were bending a bit,” Generals coach Jesse Hammill said after Friday’s win. “To be fair we played probably our best period of hockey in the first period (Thursday) night, and then tonight again was phenomenal. What can you say? These kids gutted it out again.”

The game-winner came after Brady, pressured at the half-wall in the Cougs’ zone, chipped the puck low to Creighton and broke for the goal. Creighton gathered the puck behind the net and made a spinning, backhand pass to Brady coming through the low slot.

“He and I do that a little bit in practice,” said Creighton. “I shoulder checked, saw a little bit of his socks, which is all you can hope for in a situation like that, and just went behind the back. Then he just one-touched it into the net.”

The Generals outshot the visitors 36-28 while succesfully killing all four of their penalties. The hosts had just one power-play chance of their own and were scoreless with the man advantage. Sweet made 26 saves to improved to 12-10-1.

Victoria 5, Generals 3

In Victoria Thursday, Kay scored the only goal of the first period as the Gens took the early lead. After Victoria moved in front with two goals in the second period, Dziadyk scored short-handed in the final minute of the period to tie it 2-2. The Cougars scored two more quick goals to start the third before Kay made it 4-3 with his second goal at 5:21.

That was the last offence Oceanside was able to generate, though, and Wade punctuated the scoring with an empty-net goal for Victoria with 22 seconds to play.

Notes: The Generals travel wrap up a three-game week Sunday, Jan. 21, when they travel to face the Kerry Park Islanders in a 3 p.m. VIJHL contest… The Oceanside Generals Minor Hockey Society announced its annual year-end banquet and awards ceremony will be held Saturday, Feb. 11, at Thalassa Restaurant in Qualicum Beach. Ticket availability and more information will be forthcoming on the club’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GeneralsJrB.

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