There was no game seven Sunday for the Oceanside Generals, as the local Jr. B squad saw its hockey season come to a disappointing end down-Island last Friday in a fiercely contested 3-2 loss to the Peninsula Panthers.
The Generals, who lost the first three games of their opening round best of seven playoff series, looked to have righted the ship with back to back wins. They went into Friday’s game six fully expecting to bring the series home to Oceanside Place.
Peninsula opened the scoring just over five minutes into the game, and went up 2-0 with a power play marker at 11:51. Nathan Deyell (Taylor Gray, Dylan Haugen) scored with eight seconds left in the frame to cut it to 2-1 at the first intermission.
Another fast-paced game with lots of flow — there were only four penalties called on the night two on each team — the Panthers scored the only goal of the second period at 19:41 to go up 3-1. Taylor Gray (Luciano Somerville) scored Oceanside’s last goal of the 2011/2012 season at 16:37.
Oceanside out-shot Peninsula 30-29 on the night with Panthers’ starter Stephen Heslop winning the goaltenders duel.
“Firstly, extremely disappointed,” Generals’ head coach and GM Dave Johnston surmised when The News caught up with him after the game six loss.
“Disappointed for everyone — for the players, for the coaches and for the fans for not getting it done. We just lost to a good team.”
A good team to be sure. Keep in mind the Panthers won their second straight league title this year and last year they were provincial champions.
All things considered, Johnston pointed out, “that after a very rough start to the season I’m really proud of all of the kids, of how they came together as a group and fought to the bitter end.”
One of the highlights down the stretch he added was the play of his two 20-year-olds Kyle Yamasaki and Nick Bell “who had a huge impact in their last kick at the can in junior hockey.”
They only lose those two to age “and beyond that it’s a bit of a crap shoot. I feel very strongly that we’ll lose Dylan Haugen and Nathan Deyell to Jr. A and there’s another group of kids that we could potentially lose to Jr. A as well.”
And while losing players to next level doesn’t make his job any easier “that’s something we’re very proud of.”
Looking ahead to next year, Johnston confirmed he’ll be back behind the bench for the local club as he recently renewed his contract for the 2012/2013 season.
A reminder that the Generals will be holding their annual year-end awards banquet and fundraiser Saturday, March 24 at a venue to be named shortly.
Besides doling out their team awards, there will be a dinner and dance and silent and live auctions.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun, and we’d love for people to come out and join us,” said Johnston.
For more information on the banquet go to www.oceansidegenerals.com.