Oceanside Generals sweep Storm to advance to VIJHL Finals | NanaimoNewsNOW
A critical swing in momentum occurred late in the opening frame as Campbell River pressure built. Storm goaltender Nick Peters ventured out of his net to secure a dropped puck, but was immediately stripped by Generals forward Braeden Leary, who easily scored into the vacated net.
Chase Heslop buried a nifty backhand in the second period, while Brayden Ross professionally covered a snap shot with less than five minutes left in regulation. Ross was set up thanks to a slick turnover created by Parker Klippenstein, sending the Oceanside bench and the fans into a frenzy.
Homegrown product Ashton Sadauskas was steady in the Oceanside goal again, turning aside all 23 shots he faced.
It was an impressive conclusion to a dominating streak by underdog generals.
Oceanside, with a 33-14-2 regular season record, never trailed in the series against a strong Storm team, which suffered just four regulation losses heading into the postseason game. .
The Generals outscored the province’s top-ranked Junior B team 14-1 in the early periods of the series, while Oceanside also played with the lead for 94 percent of the series.
Oceanside captain Brett Arnet, an impact player in the series, said their results came from detailed preparation.
“We arrived early and sat down and all prepared, hit the ice for warm-ups, everything was dialed in, as soon as we hit the ice every time the boys sold out. I can’t say enough about these guys,” Arnet said.
Goalkeepers were an area of strength for generals. A balanced Sadauskas, originally from Parksville, allowed just seven goals in the series. He said their first-round adversity against Comox Valley prepared them well to fight Campbell River.
“We were down in our last series, but we kind of flipped the switch and now we’re just going to roll with it,” said Sadauskas, who got the starting goalie responsibilities in his first full season. of the VIJHL at the age of 17. .
Generals guard Brady Van Herk was arguably the game’s most dominant performer. The 18-year-old from Nanaimo was heavily supported, often on double shifts with more than 25 minutes of spectacular play in all areas of the ice.
Oceanside bench boss Dan Lemmon was quick to credit his team’s leadership core for setting fast starts in all four outings.
The generals did a good job of staying out of the penalty area and keeping their emotions in check, Lemmon said.
“We’re a motivated group, we play on emotion and we’ve learned to be very disciplined, those are lessons we’ve learned throughout the season,” Lemmon said. NanaimoNewsNOW.
Lemmon said their physical brand of hockey is a trademark of their group, which he says was a key factor in frustrating the talented Storm.
After the disappointing loss and the series loss, Campbell River head coach Lee Stone was very complimentary to the Generals.
Stone, who guided the Storm to three impressive VIJHL championships under his watch, said Oceanside set the pace for the series.
“We’re not going to make excuses, the main thing is that the generals were amazing,” Stone said candidly. “You have to give them all the kudos…I thought their streak here was worthy of a championship.”
Carter Johnson led the Generals with 13 points against Campbell River, including five stunning goals in a 9-2 opener at Rod Brind’ Amour Arena.
Oceanside will play for the VIJHL title against the winner of the ongoing Southern Division Final between the Peninsula Panthers and Kerry Park Islanders.
The Peninsula holds a 3-1 series lead with Game 5 taking place Friday night on the Saanich Peninsula.
Oceanside is hoping to win its fourth VIJHL championship in franchise history and the first since 2009 when the Generals defeated the Victoria Cougars.
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