The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals dropped the opening game of their best-of-seven Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoff final series, falling 2-1 to the visiting Peninsula Panthers Wednesday (March 23) at Oceanside Place.
Riley Braun scored the game-winner on a power play at 16:37 of the final period, breaking a 1-1 deadlock.
Tanner Banks scored the other Peninsula goal, with Carter Johnson tallying the lone Oceanside marker.
With the score tied 1-1 in the third, Generals captain Brett Arnet, who had been doling out some hard checks throughout the night, was called for checking from behind and given a game misconduct with 3:41 left to play. The Panthers capitalized, with Braun roofing a shot at close range past Generals goalie Ashton Sadauskas.
The Generals made a desperate effort with just over a minute left to play, pulling Sadauskas for an extra attacker but were unable to equalize.
From the beginning, the game was closely contested. The Panthers had a slight edge offensively and had the Generals fighting off a strong forechecking game for most of the night.
Oceanside did strike first at 14:04 of the second period, when top scorer Johnson skated past the Panthers defence to score unassisted.
In the third, Peninsula equalized at the 6:04 mark, setting the stage for Braun’s winner.
Sadauskas finished the game with 38 saves, while Brady Kelly got the win in goal for the Panthers, making 30 stops.
Game 2 will be played on Friday, March 25 at Panorama Recreation Centre at 7:30 p.m. Game 3 moves back to Oceanside Place on Sunday, March 27 at 7 p.m.