The Lacombe Generals started off in a hurry in their 2018 Allan Cup final against the Stoney Creek Generals but ultimately came up short in their pursuit of their fourth Allan Cup since 2009 — losing 7-4.
“I saw a team that was very good in our opponent,” General Manager Jeff McInnis said. “You have to give them credit, they were extremely skilled and played very well together. They moved the puck well and we couldn’t find a way to keep the puck out of our own net.”
McInnis saw the final game as a winnable game, with goaltender Jake Deserres, the d-core and the forwards all playing well, but Stoney Creek managed to ace their chances.
“Any breakdowns, they capitalized on and that means they are a good team,” he said. “We got beat. We didn’t give it away, so I can’t say we beat ourselves. We were defeated by our opposition and credit to them.”
Despite the Allan Cup loss, which McInnis said is tough to swallow for Lacombe, the season was ultimately a successful one in many ways for the Generals.
“The Hometown Hockey weekend, the way the players were packing groceries, the way the players were in schools reading to kids — we had some great moments,” he said. “We had some special nights winning our league. It wasn’t our big goal but it was enjoyable because we saw our team play very well.
“The last three games against Stony Plain saw our team play very dominant. We saw a team shape up into a championship contender and then we got to the Cup and played very well all week.”
He added his team played well but their sole focus continues to be winning Allan Cups.
“We are very proud of the men this year,” he said. “They were short-handed until January. There were many nights where guys played a ton of ice-time and I think that afforded them the opportunity to get their game together.”
McInnis credited veterans Kyle Bailey, Devin Gannon and Myles Bell — to name a few — for having successful seasons. He also added that the additions of Nolan Huysmans and Colin Valcourt were key ingredients to their success.
Going forward, the Generals have a lot to look forward to, with the 2019 Allan Cup being on their own ice in Lacombe.
“It will be a special season,” McInnis said. “I think everyone knows we have something good going on in Lacombe. It will be fun to see our team, our town and our arena in the spotlight.
“We are proud of what we have and the people that support us. When you renovate your house, you want to show it off. We have our house in order and we look forward to building an event that everyone can enjoy.”
He added it is too early to know who will be back with the team next season and their roster will continue to build throughout the offseason.
The Generals will also have other events throughout the summer to watch out for.
“We will have our annual Generals Golf Tournament to kick things off at the end of August,” he said. “We will build our Allan Cup in the meantime. We are going to build a hockey club and we are going to build our event. Lots of things to do but they will happen in good time because we have a lot of people focused on it.”