With the 2019 Allan Cup being held in Lacombe, the Lacombe Generals were eager to hit the ice for their first taste of action against the Red Deer College Kings.
The game was the first of the Generals annual preseason tournament, which this year consists of six games over the course of a week featuring the Generals, the Rosetown Redwings, the Stony Plain Eagles and the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs from the Allan Cup HockeyWest league; and the Red Deer College Kings and the Augustana Vikings from the ACAC.
The game was a chance for the Generals to show off to Lacombe the freshly painted bleachers and a new Allan Cup logo on full display at centre ice at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex.
Unfortunately for the Generals, the first period wouldn’t be as pretty as the building, with the Kings jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Kyle Salaway and pretty wrister by Donavan Lumb.
The Generals would try to cut the lead in half with a powerplay at the end of the period, but would be unable to capitalize leading to a 2-0 deficit heading into the second.
Kings Coach Trevor Keeper is crediting the Kings chemistry to a good mix of guys.
“We have lots of speed,” Keeper said. “We have a pretty veteran team and our six rookies here are solid, skilled guys that put up a lot of points in junior.”
The second period would be where the Kings iced the game, scoring four answered goals with the Generals unable to find any answer despite the Kings at one point picking up a five minute major for slashing.
Ty Mappin, Dylan Baer, Jantzen Leslie and Scott Fergeson would all find the twine for the Kings and the Generals were left searching for any sort of rebuttal heading into the third and deciding period.
“We move the puck really quickly and used our special teams,” Keeper said. “We tried to keep that going with 30 to 40 second shifts. We new that we could probably tire them out because we have been going since the first of September.”
The Generals would finally find the net in the third period on a goal by Matt Brown, but it wouldn’t mean much after Mappin scored again and Jake Wozey would add further insurance — leading to the final score of 8-1.
The game at several points looked like it was going to boil over with the Generals showing their frustration.
“It’s hard when you are a senior team that has skill but hasn’t been on the ice as much,” Keeper said. “When you are chasing the puck, it can empty the gas tank pretty quick. That was part of what we wanted to do.”
Keeper said they were able to run three powerplay lines and have a lot of chances — something that likely led to the General’s frustration.
“They got got frustrated, which is unfortunate but that is what happens,” Keeper said.
The Kings will play again Friday in an ACAC showdown with Augustana, while the Generals will to find the win column when they face their rival from last season — the Rosetown Red Wings.
“We want to continue to play like we have been playing,” Keeper said about the game against Augustana. “We will be missing a couple bodies on Friday but we have to keep doing what we are doing.”