The newly minted AA Lacombe Generals were finally looking to weather an opponent on the ice after having to battle an off-ice storm that saw the General Manager/Head Coach Reed Watts take a suspension over confusion regarding the Generals name transition.
Coming into town to take on the the new AA Gens was the Bonnyville Pontiacs, who currently are a point ahead in the North Central Senior Hockey League standings — with the Generals sitting in last place with two points coming off due to having to forfeit their win over the Blackfalds Wranglers.
“We can’t really afford to give up any games a this point,” Jordan Koopmans, acting head coach, said about the forfeit.
Luckily for the Generals, they would go to defeat Bonnyville 4-2 — this time with the win actually counting in the NCHL standings.
“It is definitely good to get in the win column. We had a few losses there, so I think this is a nice stepping zone getting us to a big home-and-home with Red Deer next weekend,” Koopmans said.
Bonnyville looked to keep Lacombe in last by coming out firing, scoring the first goal of the game when Denis Cadrin beat Generals Goalie MacKenzie Engel.
It would be the Gens, however, who would leave the period with the advantage after both Scott Doucet and Kyle Mass lit the lamp, leading to a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
The Pontiacs would briefly threaten in the second when Courage Omeasoo beat Engel; but the Generals would resoundingly respond.
Areseni Oursov beat netminder Eric Szudor and Kyle Sheen would find Jared Ramstead on the powerplay, extending the Generals lead to two goals heading into the deciding period.
“I got a pretty lucky one there. I was pretty surprised when he dished the puck out to me but I will take it,” Oursov said.
The Generals would hold on to their 4-2 lead through the third en route to their second official win of the season.
“That was a big win for us. I thought we had a. good game back after that loss last weekend. We need to keep putting wins together and keep building that momentum,” Oursov said.
Engel stopped 34 shots for the win and the Generals will look to continue to climb in the NCHL standings next weekend when they play a home and home with the Red Deer Rustlers.
“He (Engel) has been keeping us in a lot of games this year. Both our goalies have been unbelievable and we need to do a better job in the defensive zone to help them out,” Oursov said.
The Generals will host Red Deer on Friday at 8:45 p.m., followed by a game in Red Deer at 8:15 p.m. at Servus arena the following day.
“Next week will be a big test for us. We have Red Deer in a home and home and that will be a huge weekend for us. We have to come out strong and get pucks in deep so we can get the W,” Oursov said.
Red Deer also picked up a win in NCHL play Saturday, knocking off the first-place Morinville Kings 4-3 in overtime.
Former Red Deer Rebels defenceman Colton Bobyk scored the overtime winner on the power play, 2:22 into the extra frame.
Red Deer jumped out to a 2-0 lead, with early goals from Tyler Berkholtz and Mike Dempster, before the Kings responded midway through the second. Bobyk notched his first of two goals on the power play with 2:28 left in the second. Morinville scored twice in the third, including a late power play goal to tie the game at three.
Mike Salmon made 34 saves in the victory for Red Deer, while Jaret Smith and Connor Patchett each added a pair of assists.