The Lacombe Generals took care of business on the road and ended this first round Allan Cup Hockey West series three games to one against the Stony Plain Eagles.
“It was big for us to win in Stony Plain because we haven’t done that this year,” Generals Coach Sean Robertson said.
After a tough Game 2 shutout in Stony Plain on Wednesday, the Generals bounced back to win both games, 4-0 at home Friday and 3-2 in Stony.
Robertson said the mindset was to get back on track after the shutout in Stony.
“To put everything we had on the table and if it didn’t go our way, we’d regroup and try again Sunday. We were full-court press for Saturday on the road,” he said.
The Generals jumped out to a quick start in the second period after a scoreless first, with both Levi Nelson and Stephen Phee keeping their hot streaks alive.
The Eagles would make it a fight in the third, scoring two goals to get the lead to within one twice, but a second Nelson goal would keep the game out of reach.
The Generals went on to win 3-2 — setting up a second round ACHW series against the Innisfail Eagles after Innisfail finished off their series on home ice against the Rosetown Red Wings, winning 3-2 to win their series in a three-game sweep.
Robertson expects a series that will resonate with hockey fans in Central Alberta.
“We haven’t won in Innisfail for awhile either, so we have to put our best foot forward there,” he said. “We have to play focused 60 minute effort against them because we know they won’t quit.”
Robertson expects disciplined hockey and strong special teams will be the difference in this series that has in the past often featured some physical hockey.
“I would like to see us mind our Ps and Qs to stay out of the box, but I understand it is not always easy,” he said. “We are approaching it knowing there is a certain way we need to play to be successful and if we stray from that, we won’t be successful.”
Robertson also hopes to see some nagging injuries begin to heal for his team.
“We are waiting to hear on those guys, but we have added some depth here recently and that is huge for us because we have had guys fill in and adapt,” he said. “Obviously we want to be healthy as we get rolling but either way we are focused in for Saturday no matter who is in the lineup.”
Ultimately, Robertson wants to see responsible hockey from his guys.
“We can’t be loosey-goosey and leave it to risk. We can’t play a riverboat gambler style,” he said. “Innisfail has given up the least amount of goals defensively, so we need to work for our opportunities.”
The puck drops for Game 1 at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex on Saturday at 7:45 p.m., followed by Game 2, again in Lacombe on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Robertson added he is looking forward to the series.
“We expect the rinks to be full and loud. It will be a good brand of hockey and a good show for Central Alberta.”