PENHOLD — The Bentley Generals are a proud bunch with long memories.
The Chinook Hockey League powerhouse Generals came out on the short end of an exhibition meeting with the RDC Kings one year ago at the Penhold Regional Multiplex. The teams met again Saturday, same place, and this time the senior squad emerged with a 4-0 win.
“They handed it to us last year at this time. We had that in the back of our minds and we came with a better all-around effort tonight, for sure,” said Generals head coach Ryan Tobler. “I don’t think we took them for granted last year, we just didn’t know what to expect.”
Thanks to the addition of some youth and speed, this Bentley team is a superior version to the 2013-14 edition. The Generals have dominated the Chinook League this season with 13 victories and no defeats, and were clearly the more polished crew Saturday despite a roster that included just 14 skaters — five defencemen and nine forwards.
The Kings, meanwhile, skated stride for stride with their older rivals and managed just one less shot — 30 — on goal.
“They’re young guys who work hard. They don’t stop, they come all night at you,” said Tobler.
Two of the new players on the 2014-15 Generals provided the scoring as Cam Maclise and Josh Smith each tallied twice.
“We added some younger legs this year. Sure, you rely on a little experience, but we had that experience last year and sometimes it doesn’t matter,” said Tobler. “The biggest difference with us this year is the speed and youth we’ve injected into the lineup. That’s made a big difference for us.”
The Generals got the only goal they needed Saturday when Smith beat Kings netminder Kraymer Barnstable with a rising slapshot from the left faceoff circle in the final minute of the opening period.
Maclise made it 2-0 at 2:14 of the second stanza, converting a feed from Jade Galbraith while breaking to the net, and Smith potted his second of the night just under two minutes later, his quick shot from the left circle finding the top of the net.
Maclise, a red-shirt at the University of Calgary, rounded out the scoring at 13:18 of the final frame.
“They’re a smart team, they move the puck well and we got chasing it a bit tonight,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper. “I thought we’d be able to put some pressure on them and wear them down a bit in the third, but they move the puck so well and they’re opportunistic.
“When they get chances they have enough talent to get some quality scoring chances.”
Indeed, the Generals had some excellent opportunities among their 16 third-period shots, but Barnstable came up with a handful of spectacular saves to keep his club at least somewhat in the game.
Barnstable finished with 27 saves, while the Bentley goaltending duo of starter Dustin Butler and Travis Yonkman, who took over in the second period, combined to stop 30 shots.
“They have a lot of skill out there. Look at their younger guys like Cam Maclise and Torrie Dyck . . . those are elite-level players,” said Keeper. “We just wanted our guys to compete and play hard against them.”
The Kings return to Alberta Colleges play Jan. 9 against visiting Concordia.
The Generals, meanwhile, host the Innisfail Eagles in a Chinook League game Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Lacombe, then take on the Rosetown, Sask., Red Wings in an exhibition encounter Sunday at Eckville.
• Maclise scored twice and picked up an assist as the Generals downed the visiting Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs in Chinook League play Friday.
Dyck had a goal and two helpers for the winners, who got additional markers from Giffen Nyren, Don Morrison and Smith. Butler turned aside 23 shots for the Generals.
Brett Rock, Warren Toews and Brett Holmberg scored for the Chiefs, who got a 26-save outing from David Tetrault.