Generals dust off rust against Vikings
Jesse Todd of the Lacombe Generals tries to push Jimmy Sheehan of the Augustana Vikings off the puck during an exhibition match on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex in Lacombe, The Generals defeated the Vikings 3-2. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The Lacombe Generals are shaking off rust from the summer months on the fly.
After making it to the Allan Cup final last year in Bouctouche, N.S. where they lost 1-0 in an overtime heartbreaker, the team is working on regaining its form - and hopefully the national title at the end of the season through a number of exhibition games against college teams.
Last weekend they dominated started with the SAIT Eye Opener Tournament, beating the Red Deer College Kings 5-4 in a shootout, then doubling up on the host Trojans 4-2.
On Saturday, they continued their winning trend against the Augustana Vikings, defeating them 3-2 at their first exhibition game at home.
“I thought we started off really well,” said Generals Head Coach Sean Robertson, who’s taking the reins from Curtis Austring.
“In the second period they had us on the ropes. In the third our guys buckled down and got the job done.”
Scoring was opened by Augustana Vikings’ Mike McMullin six minutes into the first period. Minutes later, the Generals answered on a goal by Cody Cartier.
Cartier struck again on the powerplay to give the Generals a 2-1 lead, and the gap was extended to 3-1 by Evan Oberg with a few minutes left in the opening frame.
The second period was quiet until the Generals’ Doug Jessey was ejected from the game midway through. On the ensuing power play, the Vikings managed to slip a puck past goaltender Kraymer Barnstable, but it would be the final goal of the game.
Shots were 44-26 in favour of the Generals, something Robertson was pleased to see.
“The way we want to play is to outwork teams. When you’re getting shots on net, I think you’re doing that,” he said. “If we’re not getting shots we’re not doing our job.”
As for what the team needs to work on?
“Is everything a good answer?” Robertson asked.
“We’ve just been getting the kinks and the rust out in our practices. We haven’t had a chance to do systems or anything.”
If there’s one area in particular he’d like to see improvement on, however, it’s on the blue line.
“We got a little scrambled sometimes and we ran a bit. With a veteran group you need someone to take charge and direct traffic. We’ll iron some stuff over the next week but there’s quite a bit to cover,” he said.
“There’s definitely a way we want to play and we’ll get there eventually.”
The Lacombe Generals will host the inaugural Allan Cup Hockey West preseason tournament this weekend, starting with a free game against the Red Deer College Kings on Friday at 5 p.m. as part of the grand opening festivities for the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex.
On Saturday, they’ll play the 2018 Allan Cup host Rosetown Redwings. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.