A five-goal third period saw the Lacombe Generals come from behind to win their second game against the Innisfail Eagles in their best-of-five Allan Cup Hockey West finals series.
After defeating the Eagles 4-3 in Game 1 on Saturday night, the Generals looked a little tired on Sunday – surrendering a lead twice, before finding a second wind in the third to not just rally back, but overtake their opponents 6-2 and take a two-game series lead.
Veteran Generals defenceman Billy Marshall, who had two goals in the game including the game winner, said the game changed in the third, after the team made a conscious decision to
“We weren’t disappointed with our first two periods,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of belief in this team. We recognized we had more to give and just decided not to wait any longer and ramped it up from there.”
It was a late power play goal from Eagle Riley Simpson in the first that opened the scoring, and while the Generals were outshooting their opponents, it wouldn’t be until the latter half of the second period that Kyle Stroh would fool Eagle netminder Paul Boulianne with a tricky deflection off a Levi Nelson shot and tie the game.
The lead would be short lived, however, as Simpson would strike a second time about four minutes later to reclaim the lead for Innisfail, leaving the Generals trailing 2-1 after 40 minutes.
It was clear early in the third, however, that the Generals weren’t ready to hand the battle to the Eagles just yet.
Eric Galbraith tied the game with the man advantage just 52 seconds into the period. Two minutes later, Marshall wired what would be the game winning goal from the the top of the circle and off the post to beat Boulianne and give the hometown team their first lead of the game.
“It’s kind of been a long time coming so I put a lot of stress into that one,” Marshall said. “I’ve been waiting awhile to get one so I knew if I could get it on net, the goalie was fighting things a little bit. It felt good to get that one.”
A minute later, Stroh added his second on the power play and just 79 seconds later Marshall would find the back of the net with his second. Dylan Nowakowski would add a final tally for the Generals with 13:03 left to play in the third.
Goaltender Tyler Weiman made 31 saves in the win, which now sets the team up for a chance to sweep the Eagles on the road in Innisfail Friday night.
The game plan is to use their speed and play the same way they did in the third period.
“In this league there’s some bigger, older guys and we’ve got some young, quick guys who can expose that. I think just playing a fast way of hockey, it’s tough to keep up with sometimes and today’s a testament to that,” Marshall said. “We’ve just got to start the game the way we started the third period and put the pedal to the metal right away, not wait for things to happen and set the tone right away.”
Puck drop will be at 8:30 p.m in Innisfail at the Innisfail Arena.
If necessary, Game 4 will be played on Saturday, March 2 at the same place and time.
The Generals were two for five on the power play, while the Eagles were one for nine….Shots on goal were 38-33 in favour of the Generals….Marshall was named home star of the game, while Riley Simpson was given the away star.