It’s a good time to get hot, again.
This past weekend the Bentley Generals won two consecutive games against the Stony Plain Eagles to finish the regular season on a high note.
While the victories mean nothing in terms of standings (the Generals had already clinched first place in league), they help to set the pace for the first round of playoffs between Bentley and Stony Plain beginning this coming weekend.
Now, the Generals are on a five game winning streak.
Coach Ryan Tobler said he is happy to see the Generals heating up again after a brief cold streak at the start of the new year.
“We had a rough stretch there after Christmas, but we got big wins when we needed them,” said Tobler, adding that he hopes the team can carry momentum from the wins into the playoffs against Stony Plain this weekend.
Heading into a playoff series against Stony Plain after two consecutive victorious games against the same team might seem like a good thing, but there are negatives to the situation as well.
Tobler said that playing the same team in so many consecutive games means there is a tendency for tension to be high and tempers to run hot.
Frustrations were already high in last Friday’s game in Bentley, with several scuffles breaking out in between play and players nearly breaking into a line brawl once or twice.
As the game ran later, the play got rougher, coming to a head when a Stony Plain player was thrown into the boards headfirst after a hit from behind and left the ice on a spine board.
Tobler said the injury was unfortunate and while altercations on ice between players are bound to happen when tensions are so high, no one ever wants to see someone get hurt.
“We never like to see that,” said Tobler. “There is not intent by our guys to endanger anyone at all.”
In their first game of the weekend against the Eagles, the Generals won 3-1 at home.
The game started off well for Bentley, with the Generals’ Matthew Stefanishion claiming first blood near the end of the period with an unassisted goal.
Stony Plain was unable to answer with a goal of their own until Eagle Cole Gibson poked in the puck after it dribbled out from between the pads of Generals’ goalie Dennis Basset without him knowing.
Back on even footing, the teams battled back and forth for control of the puck for the remainder of the period. However, strong defense on both sides prevented either team from scoring.
In the third, the Generals were eager to pull ahead once again and fought hard to gain the upper hand over the Eagles, scoring two goals within four minutes of each other to once again command the lead.
For the remainder of the game, the Generals continued to aggressively pressure the Eagles’ defense and control the play.
The next night in Stony Plain, the Generals managed to do the same, establishing a lead early in the game with two goals in the first period and maintaining the lead throughout the game to end it 6-3 in their favour.
Bentley next faces off against the Stony Plain Eagles in playoffs to begin at 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 at the Bentley Arena.
The Generals will then play at Stony Plain at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 and on Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. in Red Deer.