The Chinook Hockey League second place 11-2-0-2 Lacombe Generals were looking to head into the Christmas break with their second win of the week on Sunday against the 4-9-0-2 Innisfail Eagles.
After dominating the Eagles 9-1 on Dec. 13th, the Generals kicked things off early when Nathan Deck scored 28 seconds into the game.
The first period, however, would be all Innisfail with Tom Mikrut, Greg Moore and Pete Vandermeer all scoring unanswered goals for the home squad.
The Generals would head into the second period with plenty of work to do down 3-1.
“I figured they were going to come hard,” Generals Coach Sean Robertson said. “We played them four days ago and we got what we wanted. You had to know that with the way that team is coached, they wouldn’t be too pleased with it. We knew they were going to come and we were complacent.”
The second period was a much different affair for the boys in gold, with Ian Barteux, Dylan Nowakowski and Travis Granbois scoring three unanswered Lacombe goals, leading to a 4-3 Generals lead.
Travis Dunstall appeared to tie up the game for the Eagles with just over a minute left in the frame, however the goal was called back due to goalie interference.
Robertson credited the General’s turnaround in the second to winning puck battles, face-offs, one on ones and a “commitment to stay in the battle”.
The final frame would see Kyle Bailey adding another Generals goal with 4:30 to play and Billy Marshall would add an empty netter, leading to an eventual 6-3 Lacombe win.
“At the the end of the day, it could be a rodeo out there but we want two points,” Robertson said. “We have to find the line between sticking up for each other and also making sure we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot by doing anything stupid.”
The Generals now head into a break before the second half of their season begins in January. Robertson said his team has a good feel for what type of team they are this season.
“The first six games we were sticking the toes in to see what we had. We started to build on what we think we are good at. We are working things we aren’t bad at,” he said.
Robertson said that his team has solid ground to build on.
“It has nothing to do with Xs and Os. These guys play for each other, they care about one another and they legitimately care about being a team. They bought in to that,” he said.
With solid character, the Generals now have to work on their on-ice routines and their way towards another Allan Cup.
“Obviously, that is the end goal. There are so many steps before that. We have to work on keeping the puck out of our net. I don’t know what we are averaging, but it definitely is not where it needs to be come February, March and April. We have to buckle down and get stingy defensively,” he said. “Everything we have done so far has been on the chalkboard. There hasn’t been too many reps with what we have been doing on the ice.”
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