Kings 4 Generals 3 (OT)
PENHOLD — The final outcome of the exhibition meeting between the RDC Kings and Lacombe Generals was almost secondary to the the fact the game gave both teams what they were looking for in terms of competition.
“Both teams were missing a couple of key players, but it was a gritty game, highly competitive and exactly what we wanted,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper, following a 4-3 overtime victory at the Penhold Regional Multiplex Saturday.
“We needed to play against some good competition and they gave it to us. It gave us a purpose to practice hard for another week.”
The two teams meet again Dec. 10 as part of the opening of the Lacombe Arena.
“This was a little different atmosphere and emotional level than our league, but against college ranks we expected more speed and pace of play and you could tell they skate consistently while we practice once a week,” said Generals head coach Curtis Austring. “We were short a few players, but it was back and forth. Both teams played hard. It wasn’t a cake-walk all-star game. I hope it was good for them as it was for us.
“I know for us we need to play teams with pace. Our league teams don’t skate that consistently. The faster it is the more you get your brain moving and it allows our guys to play against different type of player.”
Landon Kletke scored the winning goal at 4:46 of the four-on-four five-minute overtime period taking a pass in the slot and beating former King Kramer Barnstable.
The game proved to be a highly entertaining, quick paced affair with neither team giving an inch.
After a scoreless opening period the Generals grabbed a 1-0 lead at 1:25 of the second period when Kyle Sheen took a pass at the RDC blueline and broke in alone on Devon Fordyce. Dylan Thudium connected at 2:11 and Tanner Butler gave the Kings a 2-1 lead at 6:11. However, Jesse Todd evened the count at 13:08.
Former Red Deer Rebel Nick Charif once again gave the Generals a lead at 1:30 of the third period, but Logan Sceviour took a perfect lead pass from Nick Fountain to break in alone and tie the score at 5:54.
The Kings controlled play for most of the third period, outshooting the Generals 15-10.
‘We started the game well with good puck possession but then relaxed a bit, got a little casual,” said Keeper. “They came back hard on us but I also thought our guys responded well, especially in the third period. we forechecked hard and got to the crease, creating chances. We used our speed and wore them down, especially on defence.”
Keeper liked the fact his first-year players, like Kletke, are contributing.
“A lot of our first-year guys are playing with confidence, they’re not viewing it as if they’re in their first year, but stepping up. Dustin Spearing is another guy doing just that. We’re missing (Austin) Hunter and (Riley) Simpson, two big centres and it was nice to see guys stepping up. We have confidence in them and in that they can do the job.”
The Generals, who lead the Chinook League with a 9-1 record, haven’t played at home this season with the Lacombe Arena being remodelled.
“We’re looking forward to playing at home,” said Austring. “This first part (of the season) has been a blur, but it’s also been a good bonding experience. We have a lot of few faces on the team and in the league and those bus rides and over-nighters have been good to get to know each other.
“We’ve had success as we have a competitive bunch. They want to be here and want to play. They’re not a group to coast and they know to be successful they have to work. We still have to sand a few rough edges but we’ve improved by leaps and bounds since the beginning of the season, Now we’re excited to be going home.”
Barnstable finished with 37 saves while Fordyce made 24.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca