Garrett Dunlop is doing his best to make sure junior A teams that took a pass on him will regret their decision, or at least take a closer look.
The Nanaimo native scored three goals in the Nanaimo Buccaneers' 6-4 come-from-behind win over the Oceanside Generals on Saturday in Vancouver Island Junior B Hockey League action in Parksville.
Dunlop finished with four points overall, including two goals in the third during their rally.
Nick White scored once and added two assists while Lee Orpen and Nolan Richardson also scored singles. Former General goalie Alex Mastrodonato made 28 saves in his first regular season start for the Bucs (2-0-0-0).
Kelyn Opel, Dylan Moore, Brodie Smith and Travis Flug all scored for Oceanside (0-1-0-1) while Liam Giroux stopped 38 of the 44 shots he faced.
But it was Dunlop who stole the show.
"He was fantastic (Saturday)," said Bucs head coach Brad Knight. "I felt as thought they targeted him really heavily, he picked up a lot of the major checking assignments, so for him to score three goals, I thought it was a fantastic game for him."
Dunlop was paired with White and Riel Gibson and the chemistry was great. Knight is hoping it continues long term.
"There's some good speed, another skil guy, another veteran guy and then of course Nick
White to keep guys honest," said Knight. "The whole line played great."
During the second intermission, trailing the Generals 3-2, Knight shook up his second line, putting Lee Orpen, Daniel Foglietta and Will McNamara together and they were very effective over the final 20 minutes.
"I like the way they work together," said Knight.
Knight said Mastrodonato had a shaky start to the game, but got better as the minutes ticked off the clock. The Powell River native played 19 games for the Generals last season, finishing with a 10-6-1 record, a 3.47 goals against average and a .887 save percentage. He is getting a shot in Nanaimo this year due to starting goalie Riley Medves still away with the Yorkton Terriers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
"I think he was a bit nervous in the first period, the kid is going back to the last team he played for in their old home rink," said Knight. "I thought he played really well for us down the stretch for us; half way through the second and in the third period I thought he was outstanding."
The Bucs play the Generals again on Thursday - this time at the Nanaimo Ice Centre at 7:15 p.m. - in what is a fast developing rivalry between the neighbouring cities.
"It's a fantastic rivalry coming," said Knight. "There's definitely a rivalry there that I think is a positive one, as long as it stays positive. I think what's really important is that both organizations continue to acknowledge the positive aspects of the rivalry and avoid the negative."
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