The Lacombe Generals were looking to lock up a win against the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs in a game that was a rematch of last year’s Provincial Semi-finals.
The tilt was a hard-hitting affair — eventually ending with a 7-4 decision for the Generals.
Forward Jesse Todd, who had four points on the night, noticed that the Chiefs improved since last season.
“They have some new guys. That is good for our league and good for competition,” he said
The first period was a difficult one for Generals, with the lack of fun kicking off when Fort Saskatchewan scored the first goal on a blistering drive down the right side by Jaret Smith.
The Generals followed that up by amazingly killing off over 140 seconds of 5 on 3 hockey, after three guys found their way to the box. The luck wouldn’t hold out though, with a tired Lacombe squad giving up another goal to Smith almost immediately after killing the penalties.
In what could have been a definitive turn in the game, Lacombe instead found an answer when blueliner Ian Barteaux skated into the slot and cut the Fort Saskatchewan lead in half 2-1.
Unfortunately for the home squad, the momentum was short-lived after Chief Dylan Wallace found himself wide open in slot — leading to a slap shot that would put his team up 3-1 heading into the second frame.
It looked like the Generals were primed to carve into the Chiefs’ lead early in the second period after Levi Nelson found the back of the net, but Fort Saskatchewan would quickly reestablish the two goal lead after Dallas Desjarlais beat Generals netminder Steven Stanford.
The Generals would have an opportunity to cut into the lead again after Dylan Nowakowski was awarded a penalty shot after a drive to the net on the penalty kill, but he would be unable to score after Chief netminder Ryan Demharter poke checked the puck into the netting.
The Generals would head into the third period with work to do, down 4-2.
“They came out good but I think they ran out of gas a little. Maybe that is where our practices have helped us. We want to stick to our game plan and we believe in this room that we can ride it out,” he said
If the game plan was blitzing the Chiefs in the third period with barrage of goals, than that is what the Generals did. Todd scored two goals and added an assist on the game winner by Nowakowski, leading to a total of four points on the night.
“Things finally clicked with my linemates. There were three games we had where pucks were bouncing but tonight finally they started to go in the net,” Todd said.
The Generals then went on to Stony Plain to try to sweep their weekend games against the Eagles.
Unfortunately for the Generals, they would lose a tightly contested overtime affair 4-3.
Lacombe will have a second crack at the Eagles on Friday at 8 p.m. when they square off against Stony Plain on home ice.