On paper, it was the ugliest weekend of the season for the Quality Foods Oceanside Generals. On the ice, it was even uglier.
A slash to the face from the visiting Westshore Wolves’ bench sent Generals forward Max Creighton to hospital with a gash that required 12 stitches, and the Generals went on to drop a penalty- and delay-plagued Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League game, 8-1, at Oceanside Place Saturday, Jan. 27.
“It’s the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in my career in hockey,” Oceanside head coach Jesse Hammill said after Westshore’s Jacob McQuillan swung his stick from the bench as Creighton was skating past following a whistle. “He used his stick like the grim reaper and his scythe.”
The Generals were coming off a 6-2 road loss one night earlier to the Campbell River Storm, though the Gens trailed just 3-2 well into the third period before the hosts pulled away with three unanswered goals.
Still, with just six games left in the regular season, beginning this Thursday at Nanaimo, the Generals (16-21-1-5) are running out of time to right the ship as they take aim at the postseason.
“We come to work Monday (at practice),” said Hammill. “That’s all we can do. We’ve gotta park the last two games and get back to work.”
At Oceanside Place Saturday, the Generals trailed just 1-0 midway through the first period when Creighton was whistled for a check from behind penalty. As he skated toward his bench, Creighton was shoved from behind by another player just as McQuillan swung his stick from the bench.
Creighton dropped to the ice, bleeding from a gash across his nose and under his left eye.
“That’s gonna kill a team, right there,” Hammill said of the role the incident played in the game’s outcome. “And then other things happen in the game. These are kids, and when that happens it’s gonna get in their mental mindset. It’s in my mental mindset. It was brutal.”
McQuillan was given a five-minute match penalty but, because Creighton’s minor penalty was added to an existing Oceanside penalty kill, the Wolves were skating with a man advantage when Brandon Tutte scored to make it 2-0.
The Generals then got a score back on the power play when Kyle Boshier converted off assists from Braeden Young and Trae St. Pierre at 15:57 of the first period.
The tension erupted in two second-period incidents that led to a team penalty to Oceanside for harassment of officials, multiple 10-minute misconduct penalties and finally, at 14:47 of the period, a fight that saw Generals Ryan Rae-Arthur and Carter Brown ejected from the game.
The teams combined for 124 penalty minutes, five ejections and 19 power-play chances — most in the first two periods — though the Generals were 1-for-8 with the man advantage and Westshore was just 1-for-11. The general chaos included an apparent Wolves’ goal following the second-period fight that was waved off and the clock reset when it was discovered the player who scored was supposed to have been sitting out his own penalty.
The Generals’ Brodie Smith was ejected for another harassment of officials call at 17:33 of the second period. Already without Landon Dziadyk, called up for the night by the Junior A Cowichan Capitals, Creighton and Brady Kay, the Generals found themselves without five of their top seven scorers before the second intermission.
“We only had half a roster by the time the game was done,” said Hammill.
Spencer Deakin took the loss in goal while making 26 saves on 34 shots. With the win, Westshore (18-20-1-1) moved one point ahead of Oceanside in the VIJHL standings and dropped the Generals to eighth place.
Storm 6, Generals 2
At Rod Brind’Amour Arena in Campbell River Friday night, Elijah Goyer and Young each scored second-period goals as the Generals closed the period trailing just 3-2. The score remained that way until Jalen Price scored at 7:12 and Dawson Frank followed a minute and a half later with his second goal for the Storm.
Boshier and Logan Archer added assists for the Generals. Jacob Sweet took the loss while making 46 saves, as Oceanside was outshot 52-23.
The Generals return to the ice Thursday in Nanaimo in a 7:30 p.m. contest against the league-leading Clippers. They return home Saturday, Feb. 3, to host Campbell River (29-6-4-2) in a 7 p.m. game at Oceanside Place.