Lacombe Generals GM Jeff McInnis is seeing similarities between the 2017-18 season and the 2018-19 and is hoping for a different result after last year’s team bowed out in the Allan Cup Final.
“It was tough to build, we were always thin and then we were able to add players like Colin Valcourt, Devon Gannon and Nolan Huysman,” he said. “It gave us that shot in the arm we needed in terms of depth. We finished really strong, trending upwards with every month being better.”
The final of the 2018 Allan Cup in Rosetown Saskatchewan was 7-4 decision that was closer than the score indicated.
“We thought four goals would be enough to win a game but the problem was we let them score five and then two empty netters,” McInnis said. “It is tough to lose — hurts a lot — but here we are building again for the 2018-19 season. It was a very tough start but, again, month to month is getting easier because we are having a roster we can count on.”
The first half of this season has featured shorthanded rosters trying to win games with only 12-13 guys in uniform. Some late fall acquisitions and more coming in the new year —McInnis sees an upward trend in a year that the Generals will host the 2019 Allan Cup at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex April 8th to the 13th.
“I think we are getting into a position where we are happy with the men we have. You can’t have success with 12-13 — you need to have 15-18 no matter what,” McInnis said.
Many of the stable core of Generals vets will be looking to finally sip champagne from the Allan Cup after several years of coming up just short
“When you look at our players, many of them have made it to but lost in the Allan Cup final game,” McInnis said. Tanner Korchinksi, Doug Jesse and Ian Barteaux’s first years was in 2017 and they all lost in the final the last two years. Giffen Nyren comes back to this team after losing in 2015.”
Overall, the Generals will look to improve their Allan Cup record — with the team taking home the cup three out of a possible 12 attempts. This goal will be made harder by Chinook West league that has parity across the board because of the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs folding and their players being divided up.
“That retraction brought depth for wherever those players went to,” McInnis said. “We have seen Innisfail and Stoney Plain gain depth this year drastically with the addition of a number of good players. That depth breeds parity, which is good for everybody.”
Despite an automatic berth in Allan Cup tournament, the Generals have no intention of coasting through the rest of the season.
“If you can’t win the province, you shouldn’t be able to win the tournament. You have to win all the way and certainly our goal this year as a host is no different than any other year,” McInnis said,
He added, “Everything looks good on our end and we are looking forward to getting to work.”