With the exhibition portion of the schedule out of the way, the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals are ready for the real games, starting tonight in Nanaimo against the Buccaneers.
The Generals won one game and lost three in exhibition, something that head coach Jason Johns wasn’t too worried about. Giving the coaching staff a good, hard look at some of the players trying to make the team, Johns and his staff were able to narrow things down and have what they believe is the best group of players heading forward.
“It was tough, as it always is as a coach, having to make those calls,” Johns said. “Overall, this was a great group of guys that came through our main camp trying to make this team. What we’ve got is a good, core group of players that we feel give us the best chance to win games and be competitive every game we play this season.”
Coming back to the team for another season will be forwards Logan Savard and late lineup addition Mikey Markland, who was a sparkplug on offense last year. Bolstering the blue line will be Chandler Bruyckere, who is back in the fold after leaving to play for the El Paso Rhinos late last season.
Bruyckere is one of a few local players cracking the lineup, along with Jarret Weme and Ben Mohl. Mohl, who turned 16 in June, is one of the younger players that will be suiting up for the Generals this season and he’s looking forward to being able to represent his hometown.
“I’m really excited about it, I can’t wait for that first game,” said Mohl, who missed the exhibition games due to a hip flexor strain. “I’m feeling much better now and to be able to still have this chance to suit up for the Generals is a dream come true. I’m itching to get out there and show what I can do, show everyone that I belong on this team.”
Both Mohl and Weme will be bringing some size and physicality to the Gens this season, along with a handful of other players who won’t be afraid to mix it up if the time calls for it. It’s a good balance, according to Johns, with some much needed grit to go along with the guys that can put the puck in the back of the net.
“We’re going to have a good balance here, for sure,” Johns said. “We saw that in the exhibition games. Guys just kept on getting better as the games rolled on, including our last game against Victoria. Even though we lost (4-3), we beat them five on five. Guys were sticking up for each other when they tried to push us around and that was great to see.”
The team is in Nanaimo tonight (Sept. 4) and return home Saturday night to host the Campbell River Storm. Festivities kick off at 6:30, with appearances from MLA Michelle Stillwell, Arizona Coyote’s Owner Bill Dutton and a few other surprises.