The North Central Hockey League’s leaders were handed just their second regulation loss of the season – by the Lacombe AA Generals.
The hometown team beat the Morinville Kings 5-2 at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex Saturday in what was a back-and-forth affair up until an early goal in the third period gave the Generals the edge.
Head Coach Jordan Koopmans called it a huge win for the team, especially as they try and climb up the standings.
“We had all four lines rolling and every line was chipping in tonight. It was a big team win – we definitely needed that going forward,” he said.
“Our penalty kill was fantastic tonight, our powerplay had two big goals – our special teams were a big difference tonight.”
The Kings opened the scoring first as Chance Thomas beat Generals goaltender Mackenzie Engel 1:28 into the game, but the Generals kept pressing and midway through the period Scott Doucet evened the score. By the end of the frame they were outshooting the Kings 16-8.
While on the man advantage in the second, however, they surrendered a shorthanded goal to Zach Eastcott to fall behind once more but Just a couple minutes later, Taylor Mulder feigned a pass then fired through traffic to tie the game a second time.
The Generals were shorthanded early in the third period, and the Kings were starting to gain some offensive pressure, until Troy Maclise blocked one of their shots. Quickly grabbing the puck before his opponent could regain possession, he broke away down the ice, and beat Kings goalie Ty Webb five hole with would be the eventual game winner.
“You’re just trying to get in those lanes and in front of pucks as much as you can. That one luckily struck out for me and I went on the (breakaway) and managed to put it in,” said Maclise.
The scoring didn’t stop there, with Arseni Oursov scoring on the powerplay from the right-hand circle, and while the Kings would pull their goalie with under a minute left to try and take back the game, it was all for naught as Doucet would score his second of the game on the empty net to put it away.
The victory moves them up to 4-6-0-0 in the standings, two points back of fourth place, and four points back from second place, with their most recent wins coming against the first and second-placed teams in the league in Morinville and Red Deer.
“I saw a good team effort – there’s a lot of new guys on the team this year, and it’s really nice to see us start gelling,” said Maclise. “This weekend and last weekend, we’ve shown we can beat the best teams in the league.
“We have the skill to beat any team – if we put in the effort, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
The Generals will head on the road next Saturday, Dec. 14 to face the Daysland Northstars (3-3-0-0), and the goal is to continue working on tightening up their defensive zone coverage moving forward.
Their next home game will be Dec. 21 when they host the Blackfalds Wranglers (4-5-0-0) at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex. Puck drop is at 8:15 p.m.
The Wranglers, meanwhile, will also play Friday, Dec. 13 on the road against the Devon Barons (6-4-1-0), then host the Morinville Kings on Sunday, Dec. 15 at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena at 3:30 p.m.
Arseni Oursov and Blair Mulder of the Lacombe AA Generals celebrate a third period goal against the Morinville Kings during NCHL action Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex in Lacombe, Alta.