Generals lock up first place

Despite holding a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of their Allan Cup engagement with the Thunder Bay Twins Wednesday, the Bentley Generals felt like they had been demoted to private status.

Generals 9 Twins 1

STEINBACH, Man. — Despite holding a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of their Allan Cup engagement with the Thunder Bay Twins Wednesday, the Bentley Generals felt like they had been demoted to private status.

“We were up 2-0 in the first five minutes of the game. It was too easy,” said Generals head coach Brian Sutter, following his club’s 9-1 thrashing of the Thunder Bay Twins before 600 fans at the Centennial Arena.

“We were really good early, and then we weren’t too good. The last 10 minutes of the first period we got a bit sloppy and we told ourselves during the intermission that we wanted to be better.

“It wasn’t even a contest after that.”

Indeed, the Generals outscored the Twins 4-1 in the second period and fired three unanswered third-period goals to finish atop Division II with a 2-0 record and a berth in a 7 p.m. Friday semifinal.

“We just played hard. It was a really physical game and we’re bigger than most NHL teams and we skate and move the puck as well as any team,” said Sutter. “They (Twins) played hard, but we played harder. In the end, they just couldn’t play with us.”

Kurt Bensmiller and Ryan Manitowich each fired two goals for the Generals, who got singles from Dion Darling, Don Morrison, Kent Beagle, Chris Martini and Tyler Haarstad. Kory McEwen notched the lone goal for Thunder Bay, which fell to 0-2 and will face the Lloydminster Border Kings in a quarter-final today at 3 p.m.

Cody Rudkowsky and Scott Galenza shared goaltending duties for Bentley, making 19 and six saves, respectively. Twins netminder Colin Zulianello, meanwhile, faced 60 shots.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s 2-1, 9-1 or 10-1. I don’t really care. It’s how you play,” said Sutter. “We weren’t happy with how we played in the first period and we went after them and dominated the rest of the game.”

The Dundas Real McCoys and the host Steinbach North Stars, both 1-1, will tangle in today’s other quarter-final, slated for 7 p.m. Dundas edged the South East Prairie Thunder of Manitoba 7-6 in Wednesday’s afternoon contest, getting two goals from Nick Smith while surrendering three to the Thunder’s Ryan Smith.

South East finished first in Division I due to a superior goals for/against ratio than both Lloydminster and Dundas. All three teams were 1-1 in preliminary play.

The Thunder will play in Friday’s other semifinal, set for 3 p.m.

The Allan Cup championship game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday and will be televised by TSN.

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