The Lacombe AA Hockey team (0-2-0-0), previously the Eckville Eagles, played their first game on home ice against the Westlock Warriors — looking to pick up their first win early in the North Central Hockey League (NCHL) schedule.
The AA Generals, as they will be likely be known as once they receive approval from Hockey Alberta and the NCHL, went on to pick up that first 5-1 win with an agressive, up-tempo pace that brought fans to their seats
Wearing the former Lacombe Generals jerseys, Lacombe came out hard — but it would be the Warriors who would strike first when Liam Hauser broke free past Lacombe Netminder Travis Yonkman.
“We were down 1-0 early but I knew we would respond. The boys played a real strong game. There was a couple mistakes but other than that it was a good game,” Coach Reed Watts said
Lacombe would answer back later in the period, after a line brawl spawned a 5-on-3 penalty — leading Arseni Oursov to tie it up at 1-1 heading into the second period.
“We were lucky to come out with the odd man there. I thought we were going to come out even at least but we scored quick on the 5-on-3. That put some wind in our sails and we used that going into the second,” Watts said.
The 2nd frame was all Lacombe, with the majority of the play coming in Westlocks end — leading to two goal lead after two.
Andrew Bergmann kicked things off, lumbering down the left side leading into a slapshot beating Westlock Goalie Graeme Harrington. Lacombe quickly followed that up with a point shot by Scott Kallis, leading to a 3-1 lead after 2.
“When you take care of your own end, good things happen. Everyone was going tonight and our goalie was phenomenal. Give him a lot of credit,” Bergmann said.
Lacombe would go on to 5-1 win, adding a couple goals in the third.
“It was a strong game. Five on five the guys were really rolling and starting to click. We started to get continuity with the lines. It was nice,” Watts said
Jagger Bowles and Taylor Mulder would both score and Yonkman would stop 31 shots in the win.
“We really have to work on our defensive zone. As the game went on, we got a little tired and started scrambling in our zone. We have to tighten that up,” Watts said.
Lacombe now goes on to a double-header next weekend, Saturday at 8 p.m. against the Oil Barons and then Sunday at 2:30 p.m. against the Blackfalds Wranglers.
“Every team in this league is really strong so any win goes a long way. We had two really good road wins to start — we just were working on a lot. This one feels nice. First win in the new facility,” Watts said.