CLARENVILLE, N.L. — The Bentley Generals exploded for three early third-period goals Wednesday and punched their ticket to the Allan Cup semifinals with a 4-1 victory over the Lameque Au Ptit Mousse of New Brunswick.
With the score knotted at 1-1 after two periods, Kyle Sheen gave the Generals their first lead of the evening just 1:33 into the final frame.
From there, Scott Kalinchuk blasted a shot past Lameque netminder Mathieu Baker at 3:14 and first-year General Josh Smith completed the Bentley outburst a mere 88 seconds later.
Cole Hawes opened the scoring for Lameque at 7:14 of the opening period and the lead held up until another first-year General, Cam Maclise — with his second goal of the six-team, two-pool Canadian senior AAA hockey championship — connected 52 seconds into the middle stanza. Maclise also picked up a pair of assists to give him a tournament-leading five points.
“We didn’t have a great first period coming off a big emotional win last night,” said Generals head coach Ryan Tobler, referring also to Tuesday’s thrilling, come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the host Clarenville Caribous.
“It’s not something you necessarily expect, but it can happen at times. But we addressed it. We came out and tilted the ice for the next two periods. The guys responded in a positive way.”
Bentley netminder Dustin Butler faced 18 shots while his teammates fired 35 at Baker.
Tobler predicted following Tuesday’s tournament-opening win that his club would perform even better 24 hours later.
He wasn’t sure that was actually the case.
“It’s tough to gauge. We played well the last two periods but it’s tough to compare the two games,” said the Bentley bench boss. “The games were completely different and now we just have to focus on Friday.”
The Generals clinched top spot in Division 2 with Wednesday’s triumph and earned a spot in one two Friday semifinals.
“We wanted that bye into the semifinals, which gives us tomorrow off. That was the goal,” said Tobler.
The Southeast Prairie Thunder slipped past the second Newfoundland team in the tournament — the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts — 2-1 in Wednesday’s earlier contest and earned the other semifinal berth by finishing atop Division 1 at 2-0.
In today’s quarter-finals, 0-2 Lameque will face the 1-1 Cataracts and the 1-1 Caribous will take on the 0-2 Dundas, Ont., Real McCoys.
If the Caribous advance they will play in Friday’s second semifinal at 4:30 p.m. MDT against the Thunder. The Generals will meet the other quarter-final winner at 12:30 p.m. MDT unless Clarenville does not advance, in which case Bentley will play in the late game.
“In a short tournament like this your next game is always the biggest one. We just have to make sure we’re ready and I’m sure we will be,” said Tobler.
The championship final is slated for Saturday at 4 p.m. MDT.