The top team in the VIJHL’s North Division, the Oceanside Generals, continue to expand their lead on the pack after two more wins last weekend, one of which came against the Campbell River Storm at Rod Brind’Amour Arena.
But unlike the last couple of meetings between the two teams, the Storm managed to mount some offence against the Parksville squad last Friday in front of their home fans. The Storm had been shut out in their previous two games against Oceanside, both held in Parksville at Oceanside Place, and both ending in a 2-0 final score in favour of the Generals.
It looked, at first, like last Friday’s game would be a similar result, as Oceanside came out of the gate quickly, with Dawson Heathcote and Sean Brendeland putting the visitors up two goals early. In fact, they were the first two shots faced by normally-dependable goaltender Aaron de Kok, and he was called to the bench just 4:18 into the game to be replaced by Jayce Hudak between the pipes.
Cody Savey got the Storm back within one with a shorthanded, unassisted tally midway through the first period – the first goal the Storm had scored on Oceanside since the team’s 5-3 win back in mid-September – and Jory Swanson found the net behind Oceanside’s James Brendeland with just over three minutes remaining in the period to even the score at two at the end of the first.
Savey had a chance to give the Storm their first lead midway through the second period when he was awarded a penalty shot after being taken down on a clear drive towards the Oceanside goal, but Brendeland read Savey’s deft move on the breakaway and managed to get his skate kicked out to make a great save.
Heathcote would put away his second goal of the day past Hudak a short time later, but the Storm’s Tynan Peacock evened it back up just a minute later on the powerplay while Oceanside’s Brett Arnet was in the box on a cross-checking penalty. The second period ended in a 3-3 tie.
Unforunately for the Storm, Owen Christensen took a clipping penalty under a minute into the third period, and teams like the Generals tend to take advantage if you give them too many opportunities on the powerplay. Cage Newans beat Hudak to give Oceanside the lead, the Storm couldn’t solve Brendeland for a fourth time that night and the Generals took the game by a final score of 4-3.
The Storm remain in a tough race with Nanaimo for second place in the North as they head out on the road to take on the 9-12 Saanich Braves tonight (Nov. 22) and the 18-2 Victoria Cougars on Sunday.
Hometown fans’ next chance to see their team – unless they’re down-Island this weekend – will be in next Friday’s rematch against these same Oceanside Generals.
Puck drop, as always, is 7:30 p.m. at the Brindy.