Generals take control

The way the Bentley Generals came out of the gate Thursday it looked as if the Alberta/B.C. senior AAA hockey playoff would be short and sweet.

Ryan Manitowich opens the scoring for the Bentley Generals on Fort St. John Flyers goaltender Chad Vizzutti on Thursday at the Arena as the Generals rolled to a 5-2 win.

Ryan Manitowich opens the scoring for the Bentley Generals on Fort St. John Flyers goaltender Chad Vizzutti on Thursday at the Arena as the Generals rolled to a 5-2 win.

Generals 5 Flyers 2

The way the Bentley Generals came out of the gate Thursday it looked as if the Alberta/B.C. senior AAA hockey playoff would be short and sweet.

But the Fort St. John Flyers had other ideas.

Although the Generals registered a 5-2 victory over the Flyers in the opening game of the best-of-five McKenzie Cup playoff before over 2,000 fans at the Arena, it was far from a cakewalk.

The Generals grabbed a 4-0 first-period lead, but the second period was a different story. The Generals seemed to let down and the Flyers picked up their pace and as a result Bentley’s led was cut to 4-2 after 40 minutes.

“We really skated in that first period and made them take a lot of penalties, then in the second we stopped skating, turned the puck over, especially early, and let them back in it,” said Generals head coach Brian Sutter.

The Flyers didn’t seem ready to play the game with speed in the opening period. Either they still had their bus legs or weren’t used to playing the game at the same tempo the Generals needed in winning Alberta.

“Maybe a little of both,” said Flyers head coach Adam Brash. “I was disappointed with our energy coming out in the first period, especially in a big series like this. But we regrouped in the second and showed them what we can bring. To bad we got behind that many in the first.”

Ryan Manitowich got the Generals rolling at 2:01 of the first period, taking a stretch pass as he broke down the left side and beat Flyers netminder Chad Vizzutti on a breakaway.

Then the Generals power play took over as Kevin Smyth connected at 8:03, Kurt Bensmiller at 14:17 and Smyth again, this time with a two-man advantage, at 18:42.

“Our power play was good at the start, but we got a little lax at the end,” said Smyth. “We have to be better. We have to get pucks to the net and get bodies in front, that’s how we got our first two (power play) goals.”

But Smyth agreed the Flyers played more the way they expected as the game wore on.

“They got better and better. I thought they looked a little tired at the start, then we got a little lazy and they started finishing their checks and we stopped finishing ours. They’re a good hockey team and here for a reason.”

The Flyers dominated the scoresheet in the middle stanza, outshooting the Generals 14-4 and getting goals from David Alexander and Ian Munro against Generals netminder Cody Rudowsky, a pickup from the Stony Plain Eagles.

“They’re competitive, which we knew they would be,” said Sutter. “They can skate and take a lot of pride in what they’re doing. But I thought we let them off the hook a bit tonight.”

Sutter had a little talk with his troops following the second period and they played a solid third period, holding a 14-8 edge in shots and getting the lone goal of the period from Chris Martini at 8:43.

“We knew we had to be better and we were,” said Sutter, who saw a lot of good things.

“We got a lot of good efforts. Our muckers and grinders were good and when our scorers needed to be good on the power play they were.”

Brash says the Flyers will be better as well.

“We’re confident we’ll come back tomorrow and show a different style . . . get back to our banging and crashing style and create more turnovers and get more pucks to the net . . . the little things that wins you hockey games.”

The Generals finished with 38 shots on Vizzutti while Rudowsky made 27 saves.

Sutter decided to go with Rudowsky over Scott Galenza once the Eagles netminder agreed to join the team.

“It wasn’t an easy decision as they’ve both been good, but we just felt Cody has been especially good,” said Sutter.

The series continues tonight and Saturday and if necessary Sunday and Monday. All games go at 7:30 p.m. at the Arena.

Contact Danny Rode at drode@bprda.wpengine.com

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

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

Kris Sturgess with Calgary Ghostbusters. (Photo from GoFundMe)
GoFundMe account salutes Red Deer prop builder

Kris Sturgess died unexpectedly April 28

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, in Montreal, Thursday, July 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

Lille's Burak Yilmaz, center, reacts with teammates after scoring during their French League One soccer match between Lille and Nice in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France, Saturday May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Jean Carlo Salas of Costa Rica vies for the ball with Canada's Ian Bennett (right) during a CONCACAF Futsal Championship in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CONCACAF-Norvin Mendoza MANDATORY CREDIT
Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson leaves the ice after defeating China at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Friday, May 7, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. A broad coalition of MPs from all five parties wants the federal government to support waiving the global rules that guard vaccine trade secrets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

Most Read