Caribous Edge Generals for Allan Cup

Once again, the Bentley Generals had to watch as another senior hockey club lifted the coveted Allan Cup.

Kevin Smyth skates the puck up ice during the Allan Cup final in Kenora

Kevin Smyth skates the puck up ice during the Allan Cup final in Kenora

Caribous 5 Generals 3

Once again, the Bentley Generals had to watch as another senior hockey club lifted the coveted Allan Cup.

Unfortunately for the Generals, this one was decided early,

After the Generals advanced to the Canadian senior AAA hockey championship game with a perfect record, the Clarenville Caribous fired three power play goals in the first 10-minutes as they rolled to a 5-3 victory and the Allan Cup title.

“They capitalized, give them credit,” Generals coach Brian Sutter said. “We knew they were a good team going in, we talked about that before the game. I don’t know what to say, they did what they had to do, they played hard. Our work ethic had to be at top notch and it was and their’s was, too.

“They got some breaks that we didn’t get but they earned their breaks.”

The Generals have landed in the Allan Cup finals in four consecutive efforts, winning the title in 2009. Bentley earned its seat in the championship with round robin wins over the Dundas Real McCoys and the host Kenora Thistles and a semifinal win over the Fort Frances Thunderhawks Friday.

After allowing the Caribous to pull to a 4-1 lead early in the second period, Bentley narrowed the lead to one goal by the intermission but couldn’t muster any late offence and eventually allowed an empty net goal.

“We went after them and sometimes no matter how hard you play or you try in life, it’s not quite good enough,” Sutter said. “You can’t say what if or maybe . . . but we did dig ourselves a hole and it was just a little too much to overcome.”

“They’re a very good hockey club over there,” caribous coach Ivan Hapgood said. “You play this team 10 times, I don’t know what your record would be. They’re a great hockey club and we didn’t hold back.”

Despite falling short in the finals for the second consecutive year, Sutter said the loss doesn’t write off an otherwise successful campaign.

“You can say it ends in disappointment but it doesn’t ruin the season,” he said. “We played and you can’t take that away from the players. Their preparation and their commitment, they were driven from the beginning. We came up against a good team and sometimes it goes that way.

“We haven’t given up three goals against us on the penalty kill in a month and we gave up three in one night,” he noted. “So, it’s disappointing but tomorrow is a new day, the sun will come up and life’s going to go on.”

The Caribous opened the scoring when Dale Sullivan buried a rebound off a Dustin Russell point shot at 4:02.

Less than four minutes later, defenceman Travis Chapman inked his name into the goal column with a shot from the top of the slot. Brandon Roach scored Clarenville’s third power play goal in six minutes at 8:59.

The Generals finally responded with its own special teams goal when Joe Vandermeer found the back of the net at 18:45. Travis Brigley and Darryl Laplante assisted the goal.

Clarenville’s Brad Crann, however, scored the eventual winner for the Caribous five minutes into the second.

The Generals did battle back with goals from Curtis Austring at 8:59 and Don Morrison at 17:21 of the frame, but that’s as close as they got.

The Generals finished two-for-nine with the man advantage, including a failed conversion of a five-on-three power play. Clarenville capitalized on three of four opportunities.

After firing 10 first period shots, the Caribous were held to 13 in the remaining two periods as Bentley keeper Scott Galenza set aside 18 shots. Clarenville’s Jason Churchill — named the tournament’s MVP — stopped 39 shots, 25 in the second period alone.