Generals 5 North Stars 2
STEINBACH, Man. — The battle-tested Bentley Generals are on a mission and they just keep rolling along.
The Generals, who survived a pair of seven-game series to capture the Alberta senior AAA hockey crown and then toppled the Fort St. John Flyers 3-1 in the best-of-five McKenzie Cup showdown, took the next step on the road to a national championship Tuesday with a 5-2 win over the Steinbach North Stars.
The Generals coughed up a pair of power-play goals to the host team early in the second period, then dominated the rest of the way in their first game of the six-team Allan Cup tournament.
Bentley can clinch a berth in Friday’s semifinals with a win over the 0-1 Thunder Bay Twins tonight.
“We were just ourselves. We just kept coming and coming,” said Generals head coach Brian Sutter, whose crew held a 51-31 advantage in shots before 1,450 fans at the T.G. Smith Centre.
“Guys like Kent Beagle and Tyler Haarstad were relentless and the guys who are supposed to score goals did just that.”
After a scoreless opening frame, the Generals ran into penalty problems and surrendered successive man-advantage goals to Mark Dutiame and Joey Moggach in the first two minutes of the second period.
But Bentley got goals from defenceman Brent Thurston and Curtis Austring in the final three minutes of the middle stanza and then struck for three unanswered third-period markers, with Kevin Smyth potting the winner at 2:49, Austring potting a second power-play goal and Jared Smyth adding an empty-netter.
The Generals used a combination of size and speed to dim the Stars down the stretch.
“Size is fine, but only if you can skate,” said Sutter.
“You can’t use your size unless you can skate to get there and hurt people, and we wanted to go after their defence. We started to take over halfway through the game and we could have easily had six or seven goals tonight.”
As it was, the Generals needed nearly 40 minutes to solve Steinbach netminder Jamie Hodson.
Bentley goaltender Cody Rudkowsky also turned in a stellar performance.
“Our penalty killers did a great job and I thought Cody was outstanding,” said Sutter.
“Our team defence was outstanding.
“It was a hell of a start against a very good team that has three lines of top ex-juniors and ex-pros. I’m really proud of our guys.”
Sutter wasn’t impressed, however, with the officiating. He felt the North Stars’ second goal never entered the net, was convinced his team had a legitimate goal disallowed and questioned the game misconduct assessed to Riley Lang in the first period, a call that was officially listed as a ‘trash talking game misconduct’.
“But we knew when we came here that we had to play hard, play together as a group and stay disciplined,” said the Bentley bench boss. “We knew that we couldn’t let adversity bother us.”
Earlier in the day, the Lloydminster Border Kings, with Dallas Fallsheer scoring twice, improved to 1-1 with a 5-2 win over the Dundas Real McCoys. The Ontario Major League champions fell to 0-1 in Division I, which also includes the second Manitoba entry, the 1-0 South East Prairie Thunder.
Preliminary play concludes today with South East facing Dundas at 3 p.m. and Bentley taking on Thunder Bay at 7 p.m.
The first-place team in each division will advance to Friday’s semifinals, with the second- and third-place teams competing in the cross-over quarter-finals Friday.
The Allan Cup final is set for 2 p.m. Saturday and will be televised by TSN.
• Live streaming video of the Allan Cup games is available on the Allan Cup website, allancup2009.ca/.
Contact Greg Meachem at email@example.com