They’ve felt the sting before, but that didn’t make it any easier.
For the third time in the last four years, the Lacombe Generals loss in the Allan Cup final.
Saturday’s 7-4 defeat against the Stoney Creek Generals in Rosetown, Sask. was the second straight final Lacombe lost by the same score. Lacombe GM Jeff McInnis said this time around their opponent simply got the better of them.
“I’ve been giving credit to them for beating us,” he said “I do not feel that we blew it or we gave it away. There have been years we felt that way. We had a really good team that got beat … We gotta live with losing that game.”
Lacombe beat Stoney Creek 5-3 in the round robin, earning a bye to the semifinal and easily winning that game 4-1 over Elsipogtog.
In the final, up 4-3 early in the third period, the Stoney Creek scored twice in just 77 seconds to take the lead before adding two more late in the frame for good measure.
“It’s tough for everyone in our organization because they commit so greatly,” McInnis said. “These ones really sting when you feel like you were good enough. I didn’t feel like we had a bunch of holes in our roster that we were trying to get away with suspect defence or forwards or poor goaltending. We weren’t trying to trick anybody.”
Defenceman Ian Barteaux opened the scoring for the Generals in the firs. Stoney Creek responded with three more goals before the first period ended including a pair of power-play goals. The man advantage was ultimately the difference as Stoney Creek converted twice on eight opportunities while Lacombe scored once on six chances.
“There were a ton of power plays for our opposition and us. If we were a power play team, I would have liked it better,” McInnis said.
“We were a 5-on-5 team and if you looked at that game, we had much more success 5-on-5 than we did on our power play or killing penalties. Certainly, that played into their hand.”
Myles Bell and Jesse Todd tied the game for Lacombe in the second, and Barteuax added his second of the game 34 seconds into the third. The two quick goals from Stony Creek that sunk the Generals were tough to watch for McInnis.
McInnis said on Monday work has already started for next season and the 2019 Allan Cup in Lacombe. The Generals won the Allan Cup in 2016.
“It’s tough. It stings a lot because we’re proud of what we have. Somehow we have to get over it and move on. The sun will come up and we’ll find a way to regroup,” McInnis said.
“Trust me, it doesn’t turn off– it doesn’t stop. We were working on it this morning. I guess that’s who we are.”