The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals were on the brink of elimination in their best-of-seven, opening round Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoff series verus the Comox Valley Glacier Kings, but they didn’t panic.
Down 3-2 in the series, the Generals rallied for a pair of remarkable wins, 5-2 in Game 6 and 3-1 in Game 7 to advance to the North Division finals. In both games, the Generals defence stood up to the relentless forechecking of the Glacier Kings, who dominited offensively.
Generals goalkeeper Ashton Sadauskas was key in stopping the Glacier Kings. In their win in Game 6, at the Comox Valley Sports Centre (March 5) they were outshot in that game and Sadauskas turned away 36 of the 38 shots he faced. It earned him the star of the game.
The Parksville goalie was again on the top of his game in the do-or-die Game 7 in front of home fans at Oceanside Place on (March 6). He made some crucial saves, finishing with 31 stops to deny the Glacier Kings any chance of a comeback.
“I feel great,” said Sadauskas. “It was great team effort in all of the series. It was a bit hairy in the end but we managed to pull through. We’re a resilient group.”
In Game 6, the Glacier Kings grabbed the initial lead but the Generals bounced back with two goals in a row from Brady Van Herk and Greyson Weme to go into the second period with a 2-1 advantage.
The Glacier Kings tied it up but the Generals’ Parker Klippenstein restored the lead with a goal late. In the third, Van Herk gave the Generals a two-point lead which they defended well. Brett Arnet scored an empty-netter.
The series moved to Parksville on Sunday and Oceanside Place was packed for the first time as home fans and Comox Valley fans filled the rafters.
The Generals were outshot by the strong forechecking of the Glacier Kings but the few chances they had, they capitalized on. Brendan Carlson gave the Generals a 1-0 lead in the opening frame after slapping in a goal from the point the soared past Glacier Kings goalkeepr Ryder Lally.
The Generals sustained their slim lead going into the third and their strong forays into the Glacier Kings zone had the defence scrambling.
The Generals got a power play opportunity and they capitalized on it with Evan Dyce scoring to give Oceanside a 2-0. The Glacier Kings was able to cut the lead in half with a goal at the 15:17 mark.
Sadaukas was upset with the goal as he felt there was interference during the play.
He said he had to brush it aside and stay focussed.
“We had to keep our emotions in check and keep our level,” said Sadauskas.
The Generals fought gallantly defensively to protect their slim lead but they they took a penalty with 2:14 left to play.
The visitors pulled in their goalie but the Generals stood their ground. Miles Carson was able to intercept the puck and he skated unimpeded to easily slip it into the empty net.
Forward Brendan Carlson said they’re all happy to have survived this tough series.
“The boys are really banged up and tired but we came together as a group and stuff,” said Carlson.
“We were down 3-2 and pulled through and that was huge for us. We’re going to roll into the next series with the same effort.”
The Generals will have time to recover from this gruelling series as they wait for the winner of the Campbell River Storm and Port Alberni Bombers best-of-seven opening playoff series. At press time the series is tied 3-3.
Sadauskas said it’s not time to rest on their laurels.
They are going to continue to prepare for the finals.
“We haven’t really won anything yet,” said Sadauskas. “We will get ready for the next series.”