The Lacombe Senior AA Generals won the Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships over the weekend in Fort Sasktachewan. (Photo courtesy of NCHL)

The Lacombe Senior AA Generals won the Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships over the weekend in Fort Sasktachewan. (Photo courtesy of NCHL)

Lacombe Senior AA Generals win provincial championship

The Lacome Senior AA Generals were out for redemption at the 2022 Hockey Alberta Senior AA Provincial Championship.

After losing Game 5 of a best-of-five series to the Camrose Crush in the North Central Senior Hockey League championship, the Generals felt they still had a team worthy of a title.

“It was tough after losing in the league final. Going into provincials you want to be positive but it’s hard. You just came out of a big battle with a team in the finals, but Westlock in the second round too,” said Generals GM and forward Jared Williams.

“We had some good battles with those guys and we wanted the victory. Didn’t get it in the league finals like we wanted… going into provincials, we had a little bit of that hanging over… going into the weekend we were thinking it was an opportunity to steal one and take it for ourselves.”

It took some grit and determination, but the Generals outlasted the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs in the gold medal game of provincials on Sunday in Fort Saskatchewan– winning 3-2 in overtime to capture their first provincial title. Fort Sask was undefeated in round-robin play heading into the final.

“We knew Fort Sask was going to give us everything we could handle and everything they had. They did, it was a good game,” Williams said.

“It was fast, they played hard. It was just a good hockey game.”

Williams added that Colin Zimmer, who scored twice in the game including the overtime winner was huge for the group.

“It was surreal, unreal, all the emotions… it was just awesome to have that with that group of guys. To cap off the year and have that last game, where you have that going into next year is awesome,” Williams said.

Although it was a total team effort, Williams said a major reason why they are provincial champions was the work of goalie Mackenzie Engel.

“Mac was unreal. There isn’t a single guy on our team that didn’t contribute which is the nice part. Everybody pulled the rope. But it is nice having Mac back there, he made a couple of big stops,” Williams said of Engel, who had a 2.41 goals against average, along with a 0.924 save percentage in the regular season.

“One in overtime, where you’re thinking it’s over and there he is with the paddle and boom, we’re still alive. It was pretty cool.”

The rocky road to the provincial title was filled with a few ups and downs for the Generals. They lost 5-3 to the Chiefs to open the tournament last Thursday, before knocking off Wainright 8-1 to even their record at 1-1. Other than the title, the biggest victory came against Camrose on Saturday night. Lacombe crushed the Crush 7-4, exorcising some demons from the league final loss.

“To put that in our back pocket going into the finals, that was big. We had some confidence and a bit of our own swagger,” he said.

The provincial winning group featured 13 Lacombe players, a proud point for Williams. He said the team was especially tight-knit this year and will look to build on the provincial victory heading into next season.

“The group we had was very tight-knit and this was something we wanted right from the start of the year. Be first in the league, win the league and win provincials,” Williams added.

“Those were the three top goals. One of the other ones was we need to have fun and just so happy for that group and to have that memory to go back on… I know we’re going to have a lot of returning guys.”

The Generals, Crush and Chiefs played in the 10-team North Central Senior Hockey League this season. Lacombe finished atop the table with an 11-1-0-2 record in the regular season.

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The Lacombe Senior AA Generals featured 13 local players as they captured the Hockey Alberta Senior AA Provincial Championship over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Lacombe Senior AA Generals)

The Lacombe Senior AA Generals featured 13 local players as they captured the Hockey Alberta Senior AA Provincial Championship over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Lacombe Senior AA Generals)