The Lacombe Generals managed to keep their perfect record against their closest rivals, the Innisfail Eagles, after winning a hotly contested affair 5-4 in a shootout.
As always, the two teams played an edgy game that had its fair share of bruises — both physical and on the ego. The game was neck and neck throughout, with Lacombe only having the advantage on the shot chart.
Tied 3-3 in the third period, Eagles forward Blair Mulder would score a crucial goal to put Innisfail up 4-3.
Generals forward Jesse Todd, who had two goals on the night, said his team could have done a bit more in the third period.
“We were shooting a lot from the outside,” he said. “The rebounds were sitting there, but we weren’t getting there. They were able to capitalize on one of our mistakes to go up 4-3 and then we had to battle back. You don’t want to do that but it makes you better in the long run.”
It would be Todd’s line who would eventually find a way to rally his team, when he managed to bang home a rebound with 16.7 seconds remaining in the game to tie the game 4-4.
Generals Captain Don Morrison was impressed with the effort on the last play.
“That is a huge goal. One of our leaders, Kyle Bailey, and his line were pushing the pace. They played great all night long and we got one finally past Barney (Former General netminder Kraymer Barnstable) and tied it up.”
Todd credited his linemate with making the game tying goal easy.
“We wanted to get the puck to the net. We had one shot that ended up behind the net. We threw it out front and luckily it landed on Bailey’s stick; he got a shot; I went to the net trying to create some havoc and it popped out right there; I shoveled it in.”
The Eagles would eventually win the game in a shootout on a Morrison shot that beat Barnstable.
“There is a lot of emotion there for him (Barnstable). He battles. He battled for us last year and he is battling for them this year. He is a good goalie and it is good to see him play well. It is fun to play against him,” Morrison said.
Morrison added that gutsy wins like this one are important to keep his team going forward towards the Allan Cup playoffs.
“We stuck to our game plan. We know what we got to to do. We weren’t firing on all cylinders tonight but we gutted one out tonight and found a way to squeak one out,” he said.
With new players coming into the lineup in 2018, finding ways to win and line depth is going to be important for the Generals Allan Cup chances.
“Once you get to the Allan Cup Playoffs, it is depth that wins you games. You can’t go into an Allan Cup with three lines; you need to have four,” Todd said.