Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
December 7, 2012, Saanich, BC (ISN) – Kiefer Giroux made 43 saves and Michael Fretz had a goal, assist and shootout goal to help the Oceanside Generals defeat the Saanich Braves 4-3 Friday night at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.
The Braves, who were missing six regulars from their line-up due to illness, injury or call-up, were using five midget-aged call-ups for this game and struggled early to find any chemistry, falling behind 1-0 when the General’s Travis Flug scored on Braves starter Bowman Rutledge at the 2:12 mark.
Saanich’s Connor Birmingham (right), here fighting off Oceanside’s Cam McCarrick, was just one of five call-ups on the Braves roster Friday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Braves would have a chance to get the equalizer later in the period when they went on the powerplay, but it would be the Generals who took advantage, with Cole Schneider netting a shorthanded marker at 13:18 to put the Generals up 2-0.
Oceanside’s Cole Schneider would score a short-handed goal to put the Generals up 2-0 Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Meanwhile at the other end of the ice, General’s starter Kiefer Giroux was turning aside all 13 Saanich shots that he faced in the period.
The second period was all Saanich and while they dominated on the shot count 14-5, Giroux’s goaltending and some tough luck did not allow them to gain any ground on the scoreboard.
Saanich’s Justin Polischuk (left) and Ty Jones (right) utilize the “two-headed forward” approach to move the puck into Oceanside territory on Friday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The third period started out in promising fashion as the Braves did get back into things at the 2:49 mark when Sam McMullen wired a shot past Giroux in a 4-on-4 situation to make it 2-1.
Saanich’s Sam McMullen would have a goal and an assist for the Braves in the losing effort (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Braves then went on the powerplay at the end of that 4-on-4, but once again, it was the Generals who capitalized just 25 seconds after the McMullen goal, when speedy Michael Fretz would break in alone and get Oceanside’s second shorthanded marker of the evening, restoring the two goal lead.
Oceanside’s Marino Somerville controls the puck in his own end during second period action Friday against Saanich (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Just when it looked like the Braves had packed it in, the bounces started going their way, and at the 17:49 mark, Josh McGladery banged one past Giroux to bring the Braves to within one at 3-2.
Saanich’s Liam Sproule gets off a shot during the second period of the Braves game with Oceanside Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Braves would pull Rutledge with just over a minute remaining and shortly thereafter, the Generals would get a partial breakaway that looked to be a sure empty net insurance goal, but a superb defensive play by Chad Roorda prevented the Generals from scoring, as he knocked the puck away from the General’s player and into the corner.
The Braves would then move it quickly up the ice and with just 23 seconds remaining, Justin Polischuk would jump on a Nick Guerra rebound and bang it home to tie the game and send things to overtime.
Saanich’s Justin Polischuk would score with 27 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Having salvaged a single point in a game they really had no business salvaging a point in, the Braves would do their best to score in overtime to fully complete the comeback, but would not do so and the game went to the shootout.
Oceanside’s Ethan Larson would shoot first and score for the visitors and after misses by the Brave’s Brandon Story and Sam McMullen and a miss by Taylor Gray of Oceanside, Fretz would roof one past Rutledge to clinch the win for the Generals.
Oceanside’s Michael Fretz would have a goal, an assist and the shootout winner in the Generals 4-3 win over Saanich on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Three stars were not announced at the game, but give them to the General’s Giroux (with 43 saves on 46 shots and 2 more in the shootout) and Fretz (goal, assist, shootout winner) and third star to the Brave’s Sam McMullen (goal and an assist).
Oceanside’s Kiefer Giroux would stop Saanich’s Sam McMullen on this shootout attempt, as well as stop 43 shots during the game to earn the win Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Game Notes: Saanich’s Max Mois was not in action tonight as he received a call-up to the Cowichan Capitals of the BCHL. Newly acquired Nolan Kinney left the game in the third period with what appeared to be an upper-body injury.