2022/2023 VIJHL Playoff Recap Week 3

By Blake Moon

The third week of the 2023 VIJHL playoffs has come to an exciting conclusion, with tons of
action remaining in the semi final round! Five games have been played so far between the four
remaining teams, and if you missed the action thus far, allow us to fill you in!
Oceanside Generals (N1) vs Campbell River Storm (N2)

The Generals and the Storm were almost destined to meet in the second round as both
of these juggernaut squads seemed unstoppable earlier in the regular season. But now, there is
only room for one of these teams in the finals, and it looks like neither is giving an inch in this
explosive north division matchup. During the regular season, these teams met a total of five
times with the Generals taking wins in all five of those matchups. Not only did they win all five
meetings, but they outscored the Storm by a total of 29-12. While the Generals may have
expected those previous matchups to be indicative of the series, that has not been the case so
far, with the Generals only holding a two-games-to-one lead after the first three games. Not only
have the records not matched up with the regular season but the goal differential is also much
closer with the Generals managing to hold a +2 over the Storm as the goals sit at seven for the
Generals after three games and five for the Storm after three games. Game one was a hard
fought shutout victory for the Storm as goaltender Nick Peters continued his dominant
performance so far in these playoffs stopping all 34 shots he faced. Game two was a massive
statement win for the Generals as they controlled the scoresheet winning the game 4-1 to
confidently knot the series at one game a piece. But it was game three that may end up being
the deciding factor in this series. After three periods no winner had been declared as the score
was deadlocked at 2-2; however it was the Generals that stamped their mark on this game in
overtime to take a potentially massive game three victory giving them a 2-1 series lead. This
game was unbelievably close with both goalies putting up a 0.923 save percentage, and both
teams going 1-4 on their power plays. But it was Brady Van Herk who played hero for the
Generals in game three, and now we all have to wait until Tuesday, March 21st to see who will
play hero in game four!

Victoria Cougars (S1) vs Saanich Predators (S2)
For those of you who kept track of the Saanich vs Peninsula series in round one, you
may remember that the first three games all had the same score of 3-2. Well it seems like
Saanich may have some superstitions, as this series has so far kept on the same trend. Both
game one and game two ended with a final score of 4-3, with the winning team being switched.
The Predators opened the series with a 4-3 win in regulation, but the Cougars roared right back
in game two snatching up a 4-3 victory of their own, just with an overtime frame being required
to do so. This series shares a similar characteristic of the Northern series which is that it is
incredibly tight. Both games have been decided by only a single goal, and both goalies in this
series, Dryden Demelo for the Preds and Ashton Billesberger for the Cougars, have been

stellar. But the craziest stat is the shots on goal. In this series the Preds have taken a total of 62
shots on goal, whereas the Cougars have taken a total of 60. This series cannot get much
closer than that. These two teams have played essentially the same games against each other,
and this might be a back and forth series all the way until the final buzzer sounds following
game seven. If you don’t believe me, just look at how these two teams faced off against each
other in the regular season. Five of their six matchups were decided by a difference of two goals
or less, and it appears that these teams are going to keep this playoff series similar to those
games. Expect limited mistakes and tight checking battles going forward in this series!

Remaining Teams leading Scorers:

Oceanside Generals
– Goals: Carter Johnson (4)
– Assists: Brendan Carlson (8)
– Points: Carter Johnson, Brady Van Herk, Brendan Carlson (10)
– Wins: Ashton Sadauskas and Matthew Hutchison (3)

Campbell River Storm
– Goals: Kye Benoche, Carter De Boer, Mitchell Finner (4)
– Assists: Justin Gyori (10)
– Points: Justin Gyori (12)
– Wins: Nick Peters (5)

Victoria Cougars
– Goals: Kieran Strange (6)
– Assists: Ethan Roworth (10)
– Points: Ethan Roworth (14)
– Wins: Ashton Billesberger (4)

Saanich Predators
– Goals: Jack Westhaver (6)
– Assists: Michael Hoekstra (8)
– Points: Michael Hoekstra (11)
– Wins: Dryden Demelo (4)

Week four’s action kicks off on Monday, March 20th, so head on down to your local rink to cheer
on your favourite team! Make sure to keep it locked onto VIJHL.com in the meantime so you
never miss a single second of the playoff action as we inch closer to seeing who will emerge
victorious in the 2023 VIJHL playoffs!