INNISFAIL– A late regulation goal and a shootout winner powered the Lacombe Generals to a victory over the Innisfail Eagles in Allan Cup Hockey West action Sunday night.
With just 16 seconds left in the game, Generals forward Jesse Todd shoveled in his second goal of the night to tie the game at four and captain Don Morrison notched the shootout winner to earn their sixth straight victory.
Morrison said the win was a credit to the tenacity of the group, even when they were down one goal in the third period they refused to quit and pushed to tie the game.
“We just stick to our game plan. We know what we have to do from the drop of the puck. We weren’t firing on all cylinders tonight but we just gutted it out and found a way to squeak one out,” Morrison said.
Todd, who notched the game-tying goal with time winding down said it was the hard work of Kyle Bailey who created the opportunity and he was just lucky to tap it in.
“We just wanted to get the puck to the net. We had one shot and it ended up behind the net. We just threw it out front, luckily it landed on Bailey’s stick and he got a shot. I went to the net and create some havoc, the puck popped out right there and I shoveled it in,” Todd said.
Tied at three in the third period, the Eagles broke through on a defensive breakdown from the Generals and Blair Mulder scored to give his side a 4-3 advantage.
From there the Generals pressed almost the entire third period, but former Generals goalie Kraymer Barnstable held the fort against his old mates with 15 saves in the final frame. Now suiting up for the Eagles, Barnstable finished the game with 53 saves and Morrison had plenty of praise for the netminder.
“There’s a lot of emotion there for him. He battled for us last year and he’s battling for them this year. He’s a good goalie and it’s good to see him play well and it’s fun to play against him that way,” Morrison said.
In the shootout, only Brett O’Malley scored for Innisfail and Kyle Bailey and Morrison had markers for Lacombe.
Keenan Desmet opened the scoring for the Generals in the first on the power play, but O’Malley responded for the Eagles just a minute and a half later.
Todd added a Generals goal late in the first.
The Eagles notched a tally on the man-advantage in the second, before the Generals got a goal back at 7:39 when Dylan Nowakowski found the mark. Caylan Walls tied the game at three with under six minutes to play in the second.
Generals netminder Jacob Deserres had 33 saves in the win.
The Generals also won 7-1 in Fort Saskatchewan on Saturday night.
Dylan Nowakowski and Nolan Huysmans each had two goals, while Brett Robertson, Bailey and Todd also added goals in the win.Steven Stanford made 22 stops for the victory.
Both Desmet and Huysmans are new additions to the Generals and Todd said he thinks they’ll fit in well and help add some talent up front.
“It’s huge – when we start to get to the Allan Cup and the playoffs, it’s the depth that wins you games,” Todd added. “You can’t go into the Allan Cup with three lines, you need four. It’s going to be good to get those guys up to speed and roll into the playoffs with four lines.”
Both the Generals and Eagles are on the road next week.