South East Prairie Thunder weather Lacombe Generals storm

Lacombe General Billy Marshall is stopped by South East Prairie Thunder Mathew Backhouse, #8, and Ryan Pearson, #20, from getting any closer to goaltender Steve Christie while he makes a save during 2019 Viking Projects Allan Cup action at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex in Lacombe, Alta. on Monday, April 8, 2019. The Generals fell 4-2 to the Prairie Thunder.

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The Lacombe Generals came up short on the offensive against the South East Prairie Thunder in their opening game of the 2019 Viking Projects Allan Cup.

Not that it was due to a lack of trying.

The Army fired 54 shots towards Prairie Thunder netminder Steve Christie, but were turned aside all but two times in what would be a 4-2 loss.

“We’ve seen him before – he was up to his old tricks tonight,” said Generals Head Coach Sean Robertson. “I just told my guys they can’t hang their head. I thought we played an excellent game.

“They’re an opportunistic team. They’ve been that way for a number of years.”

Despite the Generals having numerous opportunities in the opening frame, it was the Prairie Thunder’s Tyler Dittmer who scored first just over 12 minutes into the period, but it would be the only offensive action until midway though the second when teammate Brad Cole beat Generals goaltender Tyler Weiman a second time.

The Generals had plenty of chances – including several by Kyle Stroh, though, and about five minutes later it, Travis Granbois would score the Generals first of the tournament on a nifty pass from Chase Norrish.

With 5.1 seconds in the period, however, Devon Leblanc would get the goal back for the Prairie Thunder and the Generals would head to the dressing room once again trailing.

In the third, momentum seemed to shift, as the Generals weren’t only getting the shots, but winning more of the puck battles in the middle of the ice. Just over five minutes into the period, Levi Nelson brought the Army within one, but it would be the final goal Christie let beat him.

“I think we wanted to weather the storm,” said Christie. “We haven’t played much as a team – we had one series, a short series against Manitoba to qualify so we wanted to weather the storm. We knew they (the Generals) were going to come hard all game and so I think we did that.”

Leblanc would add an extra insurance goal, getting in behind the Generals with just 2:20 left to finish it.

While the Generals were on the losing end, however Robertson was happy with their play overall.

“I felt like we played our game and they capitalized on our mistakes and we didn’t capitalize on theirs and we didn’t make them make enough mistakes, but I’m happy with the way we kept coming,” he said.

“We just have to be very short sighted. We’ll get a game plan together tomorrow and make sure…we prepare to play our game again and that’s all we can do.”

The Generals will take on the Haut-Madawaska Panthers in their second game of the tournament on Tuesday, April 9. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex.

Earlier in the day, the Rosetown Redwings defeated the Innisfail Eagles 4-3. The Eagles will take the ice again Tuesday against the Stoney Creek Generals at 4 p.m.

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More pictures to come.