The Bentley Generals are no longer the Allan Cup champions.
After losing 5-1 to the Clarenville Caribous in the semi-final of the Allan Cup championship, Bentley’s hopes for two consecutive Allan Cup titles came to an end.
Coach Ryan Tobler said the result was disappointing after coming so close to the cup, but he is still proud of how hard the team fought all season.
“I loved the way the guys battled and competed, we just came up a little short,” said Tobler.
He added things may not have gone the way the Generals wanted them to, but it wasn’t for lack of effort.
“We faced some stiff competition.”
Tobler said he has never seen such a close team with such great chemistry and as such he badly wanted to see them hoist the Allan Cup.
However, Tobler added that the Generals would still walk away from the tournament and this season with something special.
“The special thing with this team is, they may not walk away with rings but they will maybe walk away with something more important,” said Tobler.
“The memory of such a close team like I had never seen before. Everybody was just so tight. That’s hard to get in a room with 24 guys, but that’s what we had.”
It might not seem like much, but Tobler said how close-knit the Generals were as a team turned out to be one of their biggest strengths throughout the season.
While Bentley will have to give up the Allan Cup this year, they still walk away with the McKenzie Cup, the Chinook League Championship and the provincial championship in addition to the fond memories.
Bentley lost its first round robin game of the Allan Cup championship to the Dundas Real McCoys, the host team who would go on to win the Allan Cup, with a large score gap of 6-2.
Then the Generals lost to the South East Prairie Thunder by a score of 3-1 in their second round robin game.
Still, Tobler said the Gens were undaunted by the shaky start to the tournament and were willing to chalk up the round robin losses as bad games and start over in the playoffs.
“We came into that first game not really knowing what to expect,” said Tobler.
Bentley managed to win their quarterfinal match against the Brantford Blast 3-2, but did not make it to the final for a rematch against Dundas.
Tobler said that home team advantage was a big factor in this year’s Allan Cup tournament, just as it had been for the Generals last year when they hosted the championship.
While the Generals had trouble adjusting to the small size of the Dundas rink, the Real McCoys used it to their advantage well.
“We give them credit, they knew how to play that barn,” said Tobler. He added that in addition to the home team advantage, Dundas had also put together a very strong team.
“It was their year,” said Tobler. “They proved that they were the best that senior hockey had to offer this year. So, you know, we have to give them credit. Yeah, it’s disappointing, but you have to give credit where it’s due.”
As for what the Gens will accomplish next season, Tobler said it is far too early to have discussions about returning players or what the team will look like. However, he did say that he expects to have a good core group of players returning.