Quality Foods Oceanside Generals goaltender Matthew Spencer-Dahl is making the most of his opportunity in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.
The 16-year-old from Qualicum Beach was called in to help the Generals when two of their regular goalies, Ashton Sadauskas and Aaron Kaner, were sidelined due to COVID-19 protocol and injury, respectively.
Spencer-Dahl, who regularly plays for a tier-one zone team in Nanaimo, has made a huge impression, recording three consecutive shutout wins for the Generals.
In his VIJHL debut, Spencer-Dahl helped the Generals blank the Nanaimo Buccaneers 7-0 (Jan. 26), and then followed it up with two more shutout wins against Port Alberni Bombers in their home-and-home set, 8-0 (Jan. 28) and 2-0 (Jan. 29).
“It feels pretty good,” said Spencer-Dahl, whose efforts earned him the VIJHL North Division goaltender of the week honours. “My teammates played well in front of me and made it easy on me seeing pucks.”
In all three games, the Generals dominated offensively, averaging close to 50 shots per game. Spencer-Dahl said he knew what he had to do and focused well to keep the Generals ahead.
“I just tried to stay in the moment and not think about anything that’s outside of your control,” said Spencer-Dahl, who indicated he’s been training hard and preparing himself for the opportunity to play in the junior level. “I know what I am capable of.”
Three consecutive shutout wins is a rare feat that Spencer-Dahl said he’s not going to forget anytime soon.
“It’s definitely up there,” said Spencer-Dahl. “It’s pretty cool. Obviously, you never forget stuff like this.”
The youngster wants to continue playing in the junior level but he knows his time is limited with the Generals for now. He said he will make the most of it and have fun.
The Generals extended their win streak to seven since the start of the New Year. In their last three games, the Generals were unrelenting offensively, which kept rival defences constantly under pressure.
They outshot the Buccaneers 55-15 in their 7-0 win. Carter Johnson paced the offence with two goals and two assists, with Brett Arnet, Brady O’Brien, Jacob Thomas, Carson Miles and Dyce Evan each contributing a goal.
Against the Bombers on the road, the Generals peppered their rivals with 48 shots and allowed the host team only 13 shots to score another shutout 8-0 win. Miles led the scoring with two goals and one each from Dyce, Greyson Weme, O’Brien, Thomas, Johnson, and Chase Heslop.
The Generals took on the Bombers again the next day at home and although they pounded the visitors with 54 shots, they managed only two goals by Johnson and Thomas thanks to Bombers goalie Callum Tung, who played a solid game and kept the Generals at bay, turning away 52 shots.
The Generals improved to 27-10-1-1 and sit second in the league’s North Division.
ICE CHIPS: The Generals have a busy schedule this week. They return to Port Alberni on Feb. 2 for another clash with the Bombers at 7 p.m., then head to Lake Cowichan on Feb. 4 to take on the Kraken at 7:30 p.m. … The next night, they host the Bombers at Oceanside place at 7 p.m. … On Sunday, Feb. 6, they head back to Lake Cowichan again for another clash with the Kraken at 5:30 p.m.