Generals return to Allan Cup final

The Bentley Generals are headed back to the Allan Cup final.

Bentley General captain Sean Robertson skates the puck into the Fort Frances Thunderhawks’ zone during the General’s 7-2 semifinal win in Kenora Friday. The win that earned Bentley its third consecutive berth in the Allan Cup Finals.

Bentley General captain Sean Robertson skates the puck into the Fort Frances Thunderhawks’ zone during the General’s 7-2 semifinal win in Kenora Friday. The win that earned Bentley its third consecutive berth in the Allan Cup Finals.

Generals 7 Thunderhawks 2

The Bentley Generals are headed back to the Allan Cup final.

The Generals pounded the Fort Frances Thunderhawks 7-2 on Friday in the semifinal, granting them the opportunity to reclaim their Canadian senior AAA hockey championship after losing it to the Fort St. John Flyers a year ago.

The Generals pushed through the round robin with a pair of gritty wins over Kenora and Dundas, earning a bye into the semifinal where the club collected all the offense necessary for the win in the first 20-minutes, including a pair of power-play goals from Don Morrison.

“We’ve earned the right,” coach Brian Sutter said. “We knew what we had to do tonight, we respected who we were playing against and, lots of times, they let their emotions get away from them and we made them pay up.”

Bentley went two-for-11 on the power play but used the excessive advantage to control the pace of the game and snap off 49 shots while holding Fort Frances to 19, less than the General’s first period total.

“Either you want to win or you want to lose. You can’t take those kind of penalties if you want to win,” said Sutter. “If our players took those penalties, I wouldn’t allow them on the ice.

“Toughness isn’t hitting a guy at this time of the year, (it’s) sometimes getting punched in the head and skating away,” he added. “That’s what it is, that’s what winners are made of.

“That’s why you win and that’s why you lose, plain and simple.”

“We basically went about our business and knew that if we played hard, not the undisciplined penalties but the hooking and the holding and the out of position penalties would catch up to them and we got a little bit of both tonight,” said Generals captain Sean Robertson, who collected two assists in the win.

Next up for the Generals is the Newfoundland and Labrador representative — the Clarenville Caribous — the only other club to push through the tournament without suffering a loss. They secured their seat in the finals with a 4-1 win over the Dundas Real McCoys in Friday’s early semifinal game.

“We’ve got what we want so far but we’ve got one big one to go,” Robertson said.

“We’re staying in the moment on the ice, we’re not thinking too far ahead. We’re not thinking about the end result, we’re just thinking of the process.”

Sutter was in the arena scouting out the Clarenville squad’s semifinal performance and said he’s expecting a tough match up Saturday.

“They’ve earned the right to be there,” he said. “We know what their strengths are and we know what our strengths are, too. We’re looking forward to it . . . they’ll be good. I hope they’re good because you want to win, you want to beat the best.”

The Generals wasted little time aligning the troops, scoring on the first shift of the game when forward Paul Cabana reeled in a rebound off the glass and knocked in the opening goal, his first of two on the night, 56-seconds in.

Don Morrison potted his first of two power-play goals in the opening stanza at 8:03. Curtis Austring and Darryl Laplante picked up the assists. Less than two-minutes later, the Generals special teams struck again when Morrison knocked in a loose rebound from the slot as Cabana and Jason Lundmark picked up the helpers.

Fort Frances responded to the three-goal deficit with a power-play marker of its own off the stick of Ian Lockman. Lockman was later ejected in the third period for a check to the head, the second straight game he was tossed.

The Generals responded 30-seconds later when Joe Vandermeer hammered in an unassisted goal. Bentley inked its fifth at 14:53 when Darren Deschamps led a two-on-one rush with Brigley into the Fort zone. Deschamps fed Brigley in front who waited for Fort goalie Steve Bounds to make his move before shelving the puck to put the Generals up 5-1.

The Thunderhawks responded less than a minute later as Ross Johnson fired home a point shot off a face in the Generals’ end.

Bentley didn’t ease up in the third and tallied another pair in a quick 20-second offensive burst seven minutes into the frame Brigley and Cabana, named the game’s MVP for the second time of the tournament, burried the Thunderhawkes.

Fort Frances converted only one of 18 advantages in a game that got rough before the opening puck drop when Brigley and Thunderhawk Rustyn Dolyny penalized for a dust-up during warm-up skate.

Chris Medicine started in goal for Fort Frances but was replaced by Steve Bounds after the Generals went up 3-0 with 11 shots. Bounds stopped 34 pucks the rest of the way. Scott Galenza made 17 saves for Bentley.

The Generals will face off against Clarenville at 2 p.m. in the Allan Cup championship contest that will be aired on TSN2 beginning at 4 p.m.