Generals, Eagles swap wins to open provincial finals
Billy Marshall of the Lacombe Generals enters the offensive zone while guarded by Jason Lundmark of the Stony Plain Eagles on Friday night at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex. The Generals won 4-2 to open the provincial senior AAA series, but fell 4-3 in overtime on Saturday. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The Lacombe Generals are no closer to making another appearance at the Allan Cup in the provincial senior AAA finals, trading wins with the Stony Plain Eagle over the weekend.
On Friday, the team kicked off the series on the right foot with a 4-2 win, but fell 4-3 in overtime on Saturday.
Although they would’ve liked to come out with a two game lead in the series, the team certainly wasn’t surprised by the level of compete over the weekend.
“We knew what we were up for going into the game so we knew they’d battle all night,” said Generals forward Doug Jessey.
“They’re a real opportunistic team. If we don’t give them anything, they tend not to get anything, but if we let up for a second and let them squeak by or make a soft play with the puck they tend to capitalize more often than not.”
That certainly was the case throughout the weekend.
After a scoreless first period on Friday, the Stony Plain Eagles found the back of the net in the second on a Todd Fiddler goal at 12:14. The 1-0 lead was short lived, with Devin Gannon tying the game two minutes later on the power play.
Generals’ forward Billy Marshall and Eagles’ Lucas Isley traded goals in the third, before Desmet tipped in a goal, which was credited to Jessey. Regardless of who the goal was given to on the scoresheet, the team was just happy to pull ahead.
“I was standing on the boards and Desmet tipped that in from (Barteaux),” Jessey said. “It was awesome and kind of a relief and we just kept the pedal down and finished it out.”
Dylan Nowakowski scored the insurance goal with an empty-netter with just over a minute left to go.
“We like to keep it simple, play on the walls, keep it fast and take it to the net,” Jessey said. “We know their goalie’s good – that’s maybe the one thing we’re focusing is getting guys going (to the net), getting lots of traffic, sticks and screens there and it paid off tonight on all the goals.”
While Jessey said he felt there were times when the Generals outwilled their opponents on Friday, it was the Eagles who had a few extra bounces on Saturday.
Kyle Bailey scored seven minutes into the first period on the power play, and Nowakowski put the Generals ahead 2-0 early in the second. Isley, however, responded shortly after to bring the Eagles within one.
In the third period, Nathan Deck added another power play goal to give the Generals a 3-1 lead, but the Eagles capitalized on the man advantage twice to tie the game and push it into overtime, where Richard Kelly won the game for the opposing team.
Such close, hard-fought games are what the Generals are expecting for the entirety of the series.
“I don’t think we’re going to see any blow-outs either way. I think we’re going to have one or two goal games all the way through,” he said.
The Generals next play the Stony Plain Eagles at home on Friday, March 16 at 8 p.m. at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex, Saturday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Glenn Hall Arena in Stony Plain and Wednesday, March 21 at 8 p.m. at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex,
If necessary, additional games will be played on Friday March 23 in Stony Plain, and Wednesday March 28 at 8 p.m. in Lacombe.