Who’s surprised that the Alberta senior AAA hockey championship series between the Bentley Generals and Stony Plain Eagles has been extended to the limit.
Not Jason Lenz.
“Over the last several years both teams have had good seasons and it has always come down to us meeting in the end (provincial final),” the Generals assistant coach said Tuesday, looking ahead to Game 7 of the provincial final tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the Red Deer Arena.
“Really, there’s not a lot to give on either side.”
This has been strictly a homer series, which bodes well for the Generals, although Bentley prevailed in the seventh game of the provincial championship last year in Stony Plain.
The Eagles’ best player in the post-season has been netminder Cody Rudkowsky, who stopped 37 of 38 shots in a 2-1 Stony Plain victory in Game 6 Sunday.
“Their goaltender has played very well for them, much like (Ryan) Hoople did in past years,” said Lenz. “That’s what we’re up against and we have to find a way to beat him one more time.”
The Generals will receive a boost tonight in the return of the Smyth brothers, Kevin and Jared.
Kevin, who leads all provincial playoff scorers with eight goals in 11 games, suffered an ‘upper-body’ injury early in Game 5 Saturday at the Arena — a 3-1 Bentley victory — and missed Sunday’s contest, while Jared has been absent for two games while in the United States on business.
“Both guys will be in the lineup and ready to go,” said Lenz.
As Lenz noted, there will be plenty of tension in the Arena air tonight.
“That’s why you play the sport, to play in games like this,” he said.
“We would have preferred that the series be over by now, but the coaches and players are all looking forward to this game. It should be a great atmosphere in the rink.”