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.
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.
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.