by Peter Kung
January 15, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – The Victoria Cougars (28-8-1-1) host the Oceanside Generals (6-29-1-1) tomorrow. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.
On paper, this looks like a mismatch.
Victoria sits atop of the VIJHL standings with 58 points and possesses a power play and penalty kill that are ranked No. 1 in the league. It also has eight players on its roster with ten or more goals and a goaltender who is leading the league with seven shutouts.
Meanwhile, the Generals are ten points back of the Saanich Braves for the final playoff spot with 11 games left to play. Saanich plays in Westshore tonight.
They are also last in goals for, last in goals against, last in power play percentage, and have only one win on the road all season.
Oceanside has totalled only eight goals in its last five road games since beating the Braves in Saanich on Dec. 6.
But the Generals did not have Bill Bestwick at the time. Bestwick, one of the greatest minds in junior hockey, recently became the third Oceanside head coach this season.
Since Bestwick took over the helm at the beginning of the New Year, the Generals have gone 2-2-0-0.
Oceanside split a home-and-home series with the Comox Valley Glacier Kings last week, dropping a 4-1 decision on Friday before storming back 24-hours later with a 3-1 win.
Brodie Smith, who does not celebrate his 17th birthday until May 3, extended his point streak to three games which includes two goals and three assists over that span.
The Generals are a young team. Their most recent lineup featured one 20-year-old, two 19-year-olds, six 18-year-olds, eight 17-year-olds, and two 16-year-olds.
There will be growing pains in Parksville but Bestwick has Oceanside steered in the right direction.
Victoria will try to win two in a row for the first time since Dec. 15 and 19.
Rebounding from a 3-1 loss to the Peninsula Panthers, the Cougars blanked the Nanaimo Buccaneers 3-0 last Sunday. Connor Beauchamp made 13 saves for his league-leading seventh shutout while Ryan Carson scored all three goals for Victoria.
Michael Fretz, who had gone pointless in his last four games, had two assists.
Tomorrow’s game marks the third of four regular season meetings between the Cougars and Oceanside. Victoria beat the Generals 8-2 on Oct. 3 and 5-0 on Nov. 16.
Graham Zagrodney has had the most success against Oceanside this season, posting a goal and five assists. Blake Roney has lit the lamp three times while Wade Johnson has five helpers versus the Generals.
After tomorrow, Victoria goes on the road for three games before returning home Jan. 30.
Two hours prior to tomorrow’s game against Oceanside, a key phrase will be released on the Cougars twitter account (@CougarsJuniorB). Repeat that phrase at the door and get in for only $5.
In addition, the 50/50 will feature 11 additional bonus draws. EVERY Cougars home game between now and the end of the regular season will feature a promotion and EVERY game will also feature bonus 50/50 prizes.
And in addition to the addition, the 50/50 bonus draws has been extended throughout the duration of the playoffs.
STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 58 points, South Island Division. Oceanside – 4th place, 14 points, North Island Division
OFFENSE: Victoria – 2nd place, 4.55 goals for per game. Oceanside – 9th place, 2.30 goals for per game
DEFENSE: Victoria – 1st place, 1.84 goals against per game. Oceanside – 9th place, 4.51 goals against per game
TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Blake Roney, 24 goals; Graham Zagrodney, 40 assists; Blake Roney, 46 points; Robert Zadra, 42 penalty minutes. Oceanside – Travis Flug, 11 goals; Brodie Smith, 16 assists; Travis Flug, 26 points; Travis Flug, 94 penalty minutes
GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Nathan Hargrave (1.67 goals against average, .925 save percentage); Connor Beauchamp (1.88 goals against average, .915 save percentage). Oceanside – Evgueni Makarski (3.59 goals against average, .893 save percentage); Liam Giroux (4.48 goals against average, .895 save percentage)
POWER PLAY: Victoria – 1st place, 62-for-243, 25.51 percent. Oceanside – 9th place, 18-for-197, 9.14 percent
PENALTY KILL: Victoria – 1st place, 164-for-181, 90.61 percent. Oceanside – 6th place, 161-for-201, 80.10 percent
SEASON SERIES: Cougars lead, 2-0-0-0
PAST RESULTS/FUTURE MEETINGS:
- October 3, 2013. Oceanside Generals 2 @ Victoria Cougars 8
- November 16, 2013. Victoria Cougars 5 @ Oceanside Generals 0
- February 1, 2014. Victoria Cougars @ Oceanside Generals
HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 18-1-0-0. Oceanside – Away, 1-18-0-0
STREAKS: Victoria, 1-0-0-0. Oceanside, 1-0-0-0
LAST TEN: Victoria, 6-4-0-0. Oceanside, 3-7-0-0