Generals back for another run

he ‘Push Through for Two’ is well underway. With the ‘Run to One’ now just a pleasant memory, the Bentley Generals are determined to add a second consecutive Allan Cup championship to their resumé.

Generals captain Kent Beagle swoops in on Innisfail Eagles goalie Archie Henderson looking for a rebound during the Generals’ 7-0 win on Friday in Bentley.

Generals captain Kent Beagle swoops in on Innisfail Eagles goalie Archie Henderson looking for a rebound during the Generals’ 7-0 win on Friday in Bentley.

BENTLEY — The ‘Push Through for Two’ is well underway.

With the ‘Run to One’ now just a pleasant memory, the Bentley Generals are determined to add a second consecutive Allan Cup championship to their resumé.

“It’s funny, three-quarters of the way through playoffs last year everyone was saying ‘let’s win this thing so we can retire’. But now we got a taste of it and we want to do it again,” Generals captain Kent Beagle said Friday, following his club’s 7-0 win over the Innisfail Eagles that improved Bentley’s Chinook Hockey League leading record to 10-1-0-0.

Yes indeed, the Generals are once again the cream of the CHL, one of the country’s toughest senior loops with the likes of the Stony Plain Eagles, Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs and Lloydminster Border Kings, all of whom have been to the Allan Cup tournament. Stony Plain and the Chiefs trail Bentley by three and six points, with one and two games in hand, respectively.

“The whole league has upgraded this year. Innisfail has a better team, Rocky (West Central Alberta) has a better team. Fort Saskatchewan is a top-end club, Lloydminster is what they are and you know Stony is always going to be there,” said Generals head coach Brian Sutter. “We have our hands full all of the time.”

It’s the usual cast of suspects who are leading the Gens. Curtis Austring is the league’s top scorer with 11 goals and 22 points, Sean Robertson (7-13-20) and Diarmuid Kelly (8-10-18) are up there as well and the likes of puck-movers Joe Vandermeer, Don Morrison and Erik Lodge are anchoring the back end.

Toss in the return of former NHL forward Darryl LaPlante, who has 14 points (6-8) in just six games after taking last season off, Tyler Haarstad (5-8-13) and Kevin Smyth (5-6-11 in seven games), and it’s déja vu all over again. And the addition of forward John Hobson, formerly of the Chiefs, and goaltenders Jordan Alford and Darryl Ruff, formerly of the Rocky Rams, hasn’t hurt.

“We have a few new guys, but the work ethic, the attitude and the mentality haven’t changed,” said Sutter. “You have to be good every night and find new ways to challenge yourself. Guys like ‘Lappy’ (LaPlante) make it a lot easier and having ‘Derms’ (Kelly) the whole year has made a difference. It’s just a matter of those guys staying healthy.”

Beagle admitted that it’s basically more of the same this season.

“I think that we’ve filled in a few holes, spots where we were lacking a bit last year,” he said. “We have a little more scoring punch with LaPlante back and the addition of Hobson, and we have some different line combinations that are working for us.

“But we have the same philosophy as last year and in years past. With Brian as coach, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing against — it’s balls to the wall every night. There’s no letting off that gas and that’s the way we’re going to roll.”

The Generals have carded the Bensmiller brothers — forward Kurt and defenceman Chance — for the stretch run and provincial playoffs, and hope to see more of veteran forward Chris Martini in the New Year. In other words, most of the same names that adorn the most recent plaque on the Allan Cup should be around for another run, and when you’re the defending national senior champions, that’s not a bad thing.

“It’s not, but it’s twice as hard to defend it,” said Sutter. “So we continue to try and bear down on the little things. We play like a pro team. We don’t beat ourselves and we get better as the game goes on. That’s what we try to do.

“Last season we had to go right to the wall to win everything. Home-ice advantage was really important to us so it’s vital that we pick up all the points we can get right now.”

The addition of Ruff and Alford, a Red Deer native and former U.S. college (RPI) stopper who possesses a shiny 1.66 goals-against average and .941 save percentage, and the presence of veteran Scott Galenza (1.64 GAA and .933 save percentage with two shutouts) gives the Generals all-important depth between the pipes.

“The goalies might not like that there’s three of them, but we ended up with one goalie (Galenza) last season and we can’t get caught like that again,” said Sutter.

“It’s great that we have three goalies who can challenge each other and are all capable of being a No. 1 with any team in this league,” added Beagle. “But the main thing is staying prepared. With everyone gunning for us every game we have to be on our toes.”

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mason Ward battles with a Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward during the WHL Central Division season opener. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers come back to spoil Red Deer Rebels home opener

It’s been nearly 345 days since the Red Deer Rebels last played… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) falls on his knees as he skates around Ottawa Senators defenceman Artem Zub (2) during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, February 18, 2021. The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto star Auston Matthews won’t play as Leafs face Oilers

EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Most Read