The Bentley Generals returned home empty-handed after a loss in the 2015 Allan Cup final to the South East Prairie Thunder, who won the game 2-0.
Coach Ryan Tobler was – like the rest of his team – very disappointed but still was proud of the team for all of their hard work put forward over the 2014/2015 season.
“Of course, we fought right till the end. They battled and we did great on a five on three, and we tried to build some momentum from that. Look who they beat – they beat the host, they beat Grand Falls, they beat us. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to certain teams,” Tobler said.
“I just feel bad because we have this great group of guys who battled very well all year. It’s really tough to swallow, but that’s the way it is, so there isn’t much to do now. I feel bad for the team to lose in that moment after working so hard.”
Mark Agnew of the Prairie Thunder took the lead in the second period with the game’s first goal, assisted by Rob Smith and Greg Beller. In the third period, the team scored again, this time with Shawn Limpright sharing the glory with Terry Yake and Blake Forsyth.
Generals coach Tobler said that although Prairie Thunder had taken the lead, the Generals fought hard to try and even up the score.
“I thought that defensively, we were great. We didn’t give them hardly anything – the problem was that they didn’t give us much of anything, either. You’re running into a trapping system like that, and the goaltender just blocked so well. We just didn’t seem to get sustained pressure,” he said.
“It was one of those games where we’d love to have had another shot at it, but that’s just not how it works. We had our chances, albeit limited, but we had a few chances to tie it up. We needed that first goal to make things change a little bit but it didn’t go our way this year. However, I’m extremely proud of how we got there.”
The Generals led their division this year with a season record of 23 wins, one loss and no ties. Unfortunately, the work didn’t pay off this year, but serves as motivation for next.
“Of course the fire will come back and we will just try to get back up on that horse. Two years in a row now we’ve made it to semis, and then the finals and next year we will have another shot at redemption. We made it all this way, and soon something’s got to give,” Tobler said.
“We lost three games all year, and that last game is the biggest one and it hurts.
The atmosphere was great. The tournament (Clarenville) put on was outstanding. The fans were great. We were ready. We had great energy coming off of the big win against Grand Falls, and we just couldn’t seem to get through (Prairie Thunder). They had a system and stuck to it, so I’ve got to give them credit. Right now, it’s still really tough to swallow.”
Tobler said that although it was a difficult loss, he and the rest of the team would learn from it.
“It’s still fresh, and maybe when I go back and watch the game I’ll see something that I’ll want to change. But that’s the way it goes when you lose – especially in a big game. You’re always going to have the could’ve, would’ve, should’ve feelings. I guess it’s another learning opportunity, that’s about all I can say about it.”