The Bentley Generals have added two more to their win column early in the season.
After last weekend, Bentley remains undefeated, beating the Innisfail Eagles 7-1 and the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs 4-2 at games in Lacombe and Fort Saskatchewan respectively bringing their record to 4-0.
Bentley’s game in Lacombe was a hard-fought battle and one of those where the scoreboard doesn’t show how close the competition really was, said Gens Coach Ryan Tobler.
“I don’t think the score is indicative of how this game went.”
In the first period, Tobler said play was very even. But, the Generals had a slight advantage as it was their first game of the weekend.
“The first period was spirited. It was great – back and forth,” said Tobler.“(Innisfail) played last night, we had the fresh legs.”
It was a very rough game for the Generals, with the Eagles initiating a lot of rough play in between the whistles. However, the Gens weathered the abuse stoically and even managed to turn the frequent Innisfail penalties to their advantage.
“I was proud of how resilient we were. I thought we did a great job between whistles,” said Tobler.
Every exchange between the two teams was tight and they seemed evenly matched in skill.
Tobler said power plays were the deciding factor in the otherwise close contest.
“Some timely power play goals by us were the difference.” He added that is what happens when teams have undisciplined players – they get penalties that lead to the opposition scoring chances.
While it may have been power play goals that led to the victory over the Innisfail, the Eagles also demonstrated an effective penalty kill.
“They do a great job of blocking shots,” said Tobler. “It’s really hard to get pucks in through from the point.
“You have to spread them out. You have to have good puck and player movement. It’s the only way to have success against these guys. You know you will have to work hard against these guys in the power play.”
Tobler said aggressive and to a degree even rough play does not bother him.
He said it makes for good hockey and can form exciting rivalry.
However, there is a line between rough and dangerous. That line was crossed last Saturday night when Innisfail Eagle Travis Dunstall attempted to injure one of the Generals by kneeing. Dunstall received a match penalty for his actions and was ejected from the game. Tobler commented on the incident saying it was “garbage” and made his thoughts on such players clear.
“When players like Dunstall try to hurt other players, that’s when I have a problem. I would never ask one of my players to do that and if they did they wouldn’t see the ice. These guys have to get up and go to work the next day and there is no room for that in this league. Absolutely none. I don’t agree with it. It’s unacceptable and I’m upset about it.”
As for how the Gens played, Tobler said he was happy.
He said he was especially pleased with how the Gens played a full game of hockey.
“Right from the onset it was a good 60 minute effort.”
In fact, Tobler said he is impressed with how the Generals have been playing all season so far. Last week, he mentioned the team was doing well but still have a long way to go before they can claim the cup.
This week, Tobler said the positive trend is continuing.
“I’m very happy with the way we are competing.”