The Lacombe Generals came into Game 3 of their seven game semi-final series looking to make short work of the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs, who were riding on the heels of two losses that were both hotly contested.
“They have definitely given us a run for our money,” veteran defenceman Ian Barteaux said. “They are working really hard over there so kudos to them.”
Game one was a 2-0 shutout out for Generals’ netminder Steven Sanford in Fort Saskatchewan, followed by game two — which was a 3-2 overtime win for Lacombe, highlighted by stellar play between the pipes for Chiefs goaltender Devon Fordyce.
“He is a really good ‘tender and all ‘tenders are good when there is no traffic in front of the net,” Barteaux said. “We have had our most successful games when we gave traffic.”
The first period began with Lacombe applying deep pressure to the Chiefs’ defence, keeping the puck boxed in behind Fort Saskatchewan’s net.
Eventually, Colin Valcourt was able to find the back of the net on a 10 ft. slapshot that broke his stick in the process.
Lacombe, however, was unable to keep play out of their own end following their first goal.
Chiefs forward James Dobrowolski was able to sneak one past Sanford, leading to a 1-1 tie that would carry over into the period break.
The second was all Lacombe, with the majority of the play coming in Fort Saskatchewan’s end.
Fordyce would make some huge saves, and the Generals would ring a one-timer off the inside of the post before Devin Gannon was able to knock in a nifty deflection.
The Chiefs would get some opportunities late in the period on the powerplay, but were unable to capitalize — leading to a 2-1 Lacombe lead after 40 minutes.
Barteaux would make sure that the Generals would run away with the third period, starting with an early goal to put his team up 3-1.
Fort Saskatchewan would immediately have the answer when Conor Hartley beat Stanford to make it a one goal game once again.
It would be Barteaux, once again, who would have the answer for Lacombe when he wired a slapshot from the point to put the game out of reach 4-2.
“I got some opportunities and made the best of them,” Barteaux said.
Jesse Todd would add an insurance goal with 52 seconds remaining to bring the game to its 5-2 final score.
The Generals have a short turnaround, as they hit the bus for game four in Fort Saskatchewan on Sunday.
Barteaux said it’s important to wrap it up in four games.
“There are so many miles on these old legs. The faster we get this over and done with, the easier it is to rest up for the next round,” he said.
He added, “This series has been really fun because they have kept it close and have made it a game every time.”