The Generals came into their game against the Stony Plain Eagles looking to avenge a loss on the road last weekend when they fell 4-3 in overtime, after an impressive 7-4 home ice victory the previous night against the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs.
This time, the Generals would find a way to ground the Eagles with an impressive 6-2 victory.
“It was important for us. We were short-staffed again, but the buy-in from this group was good. When we play simple, we have the puck a lot. Less fancy with more meat and potatoes,” Generals Head Coach Sean Robertson said.
Lacombe would find a way to clip the Eagles’ wings early — scoring three huge goals in the first frame. Newcomer Keegan Iverson kicked things off with a goal set up by a Jesse Todd screen. The Generals would keep banging away at the puck, scoring a minute later at the 5:30 mark when Dylan Nowakowski tickled the twine with his fourth goal of the season.
Nowakowski, who finished with two goals on the night, said it is always good to play on home ice.
“It is getting tough always playing with only 12 guys, but I think we are figuring it out. It is going to get easier as it goes,” he said.
The Generals would finish off the period with another goal for good measure by Colin Valcourt — leading to 3-0 after a period Lacombe dominated from end to end.
The onslaught would continue for the home team, adding two more goals to their scoring total. Tanner Korchinski would kick things off after a pass through the slot went off an Eagle and into the back of the net. Nowakowski would then add his second after he managed to tip a Doug Jessey slapshot from the point for his second goal of the game.
The fun was put on hold, however, after veteran General Billy Marshall got tied up in the offensive zone, leading to his head being slammed into the end boards. Marshall was able to skate away to the lockerroom but looked banged up stepping off the ice.
Robertson said it was tough to see Marshall go down — who was experiencing numbness and taken to the hospital for further testing.
“That is tough to see and that is what happens when you are short-staffed,” Robertson said. “He is playing out of position. That is one of the things you worry about.”
The Generals would head into the final frame with a commanding 5-0 lead.
The Generals, who were only skating 12 guys on the night, would begin loosing their legs in the third period leading to two Eagle goals. Spencer McEvoy and Brendan Baumgartner would both score for Stony Plain, but it wouldn’t be enough with the Generals taking this one 6-2. after an empty net goal by Jesse Todd.
“They have to be tired. It is the start of the year and we are still finding our legs,” Robertson said. “Guys are going for every second shift and they have done it for two weekends in a row. I am extremely proud, those guys are excellent teammates and they battle hard for each other.”
Robertson said his team is playing with fire with the short benches.
“There is hockey gods and when you get away with playing a game with 12 guys and control the score, it is a little misleading. We know that is not the hockey we will be playing down the stretch. It is fine for right now, but it is something we don’t want to practice going forward,” he said.
The Generals will now head into their game against the Innisfail Eagles next weekend with a 2-1 record. Puck drop will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex.
“I do foresee help coming but for now we will roll with what we got. We have no other choice,” Robertson said.