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Lacombe Generals complete sweep in Innisfail

ACHW Title brings Generals closer to Allan Cup

The sweep is complete.

“We got a win in Innisfail which we haven’t done in awhile. That was important for us and it was important for us to get it done in three games so that they don’t get any momentum against us,” Generals Coach Sean Robertson said about his team’s 7-4 win.

The Lacombe Generals jumped on the bus the Innisfail hoping to secure their Allan Cup Hockey West League Championship in their best-of-five series against the Innisfail Eagles after taking Game 1 in a 3-2 win, and Game 2 in a 6-2 blow out.

To get the sweep, the Generals needed to keep up their defence which has been their trademark in the series — a trademark made difficult in the unfriendly confines of the Innisfail Twin Arena.

The Generals started the way they needed to, with Forward Kyle Ross scoring just 30 seconds into the game — but veteran Defencemen Joe Vandermeer would eventually find a way to even the game late, leading to a 1-1 tie heading into the second.

It would be the Eagles who would grab the lead first when a Generals netminder Mike Salmon took a high-sticking penalty leading to Vandermeer connecting with Colton Hayes for the goal.

“They are always a shot away from being tied or up and that is how we approach it,” Robertson said.

The Generals would, however, retake their lead in the second, with both Forwards Kyle Stroh and Billy Marshall finding a way to beat Eagles netminder Paul Boulianne leading to a 3-2 lead heading into the final frame.

The third would be all Generals and by the game would be all but over after 10 minutes, with Forward Levi Nelson scoring two goals early in the frame — one of them being the game winner.

Marshall would add his second of the game and Oberg would also score to round out the Generals score sheet.

“I dont think anyone can key on one guy on our team. In the past they may of been able to, but we are quite a bit deeper now. Levi Nelson as the game gets more important, he gets better. With Billy marshall, you may be able to contain him for awhile but he works so darn hard and I was happy to see him get rewarded,” Robertson said.

Eagle Ty Clay would add two goals late, but it wouldn’t be enough to stop the Generals from winning the ACHW Championship in a three-game sweep.

Salmon, who got his first start of the playoffs, finished with 32 saves on the night and both Nelson and Stroh finished with three points.

“I am very pleased with him. I thought he battled hard. Weim’s has been carrying the mail but I have two other goalies. He got the nod because he has had the most work lately. He played well and he gave us a shot in the arm. We need that,” Robertson said.

The Generals will now look to win the MacKenzie Cup, before continuing their journey to hosting the Allan Cup at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex from April 8th to 13th.

“Innisfail and Stony are going to play a best-of-seven to see who will advance to the Allan Cup. We will play the winner in best-of-one or a best-of-three. Both teams will be in the Allan Cup,” Robertson said.

Robertson said five weeks of downtime isn’t ideal but his team will take the extra rest.

“We have an idea what we want and we will come up with a business plan to figure out what will help us. We want to get some team-building in, we want to get some practices in and we want to fine tune things,” Robertson said. “We will be ready one way or another.”

Robertson said the added adversity of this season will go along way in the Allan Cup.

“This was a goal of ours and when you achieve a goal, you think of everything you went through to get there. It makes it that much sweeter because we went though a lot this year,” he said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

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