Generals 4 Eagles 1
For the second straight game, the Innisfail Eagles played well enough to win – only to come out on losing end again.
They had plenty of chances to pull even with the defending Allan Cup champion Stoney Creek Generals on Tuesday, but the Ontario representative edged the Eagles 4-1.
Especially in the third period on day two of the 2019 Allan Cup in Lacombe, Innisfail peppered Generals goalie Ryan DeMelo. He stood tall while the game was 2-1 for much of the third period and finished the night with 35 saves.
“It was a close game the whole game. A 2-1 hockey game and that’s the way it goes,” said Eagles coach Brian Sutter.
“We had so many chances in the third period to score empty net goals and we didn’t get them. I can remember six really quickly and that didn’t count the rebounds and pucks that bounced over guys’ sticks.”
Nathan Pageau iced the game with 81 seconds left in the game on a breakaway and Sean Blanchard notched an empty net goal as the final buzzer sounded.
“It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve been in a game that intense. First period was tough to get going. It’s just one of those games when you have to get out there and get involved,” said Generals forward Cam Fergus, who had two goals in the victory.
“We were fortunate our goalie made some big saves for us and we were fortunate to bury a couple.”
With the loss, the Eagles are 0-2 to start the 2019 Allan Cup and will finish third in division 1.
“If we played as hard and with that desperation, we would have won that game (Monday) by five goals. That was a heck of a hockey game. A lot of emotions at the end,” Sutter added.
Emotions ran high the entire contest, with the two sides combining for 42 penalty minutes. Neither group was really able to take advantage on the power play, with the Eagles failing to score on five chances. The only difference was a Cam Fergus power play tally in the second.
Rob Hisey fired a pass through the Eagles’ penalty killers and Fergus buried a one-timer past Barnstable for the only goal of the period.
“I think our PK was pretty good. You have to be pretty happy with that. Our goaltender made some big saves and bailed us out,” Fergus said.
“As far as our power play, that’s not really good enough. We had a lot of chances there. In a tournament like this, you have to capitalize. Your special teams have to contribute a goal or two and that puts you in a good spot.”
Fergus also converted a great give-and-go with Martin Lee to open the scoring in the first.
Innisfail battled back, with regular season scoring leader Shawn Bates doing the damage. He fired a low shot on net and it deflected in off a Generals defender and in to tie the game at one.
Stoney Creek relied on their championship pedigree to carry them through the emotional highs and lows of the battle Tuesday.
Fergus added that should help them going forward, with 11 returning players from the 2018-winning group. They take on the Rosetown Red Wings Wednesday at 4 p.m.
“You just build off every game and you want to get better as the tournament goes on and keep pushing yourself and the pace,” Fergus said.
“It’s nice to get a win, that day off is huge. We’ll enjoy this now and reset. Approach (Wednesday) as a much win and go from there.”