Prairie Thunder 4 Generals 2
The Lacombe Generals battled valiantly but Steve Christie was equal to the task all night long.
Christie stole a victory for the South East Prairie Thunder at the 2019 Allan Cup in Lacombe.
Christie sent the Generals faithful home grumpy with a marvelous 52-save performance to knock off the host 4-2 on day 1 of the tournament.
“We’ve seen him before. He was up to his old tricks,” said Generals coach Sean Robertson.
“I told my guys, they can’t hang their heads. I thought we played an excellent game. They’re an opportunistic team and they’ve been that way for a number of years. They’re a good hockey team.”
Down a goal late in the third and buzzing, Christie made a massive blocker save to keep the Prairie Thunder ahead 3-2.
“I think we wanted to weather the storm. We haven’t played together much as a team. We had a short series to qualify,” said Christie.
“We knew they were going to come hard all game. We did that, maybe we gave up a little more than we would have liked, so we have to get better from here.”
Disaster struck for Lacombe with under three minutes to play in the contest.
Devon LeBlanc notched his second of the night for the dagger late in the third to put his side ahead 4-2. He picked off an Ian Barteaux pass and broke in all alone before burying high glove on Weiman.
“I felt like we played our game and they capitalized on our mistakes. We didn’t capitalize on theirs. We didn’t make them make enough mistakes. But I happy with the way we kept coming,” Robertson said.
Brad Cole helped the visitors get ahead in the first when he feathered a shot towards the Generals net and Tyler Dittmer batted home the rebound.
Midway through the second, a Barteaux hooking call hurt the Generals. The Lacombe penalty killers were stuck out for nearly the entire kill before Cole notched a one-timer on a great pass from Brock Mixon.
Late in the second, a great save from Tyler Weiman gave the home side a brief spark.
Travis Granbois brought the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex to their feet with just 3:41 left in the frame. On a three-on-two break with less than 10 seconds left in the Prairie Thunder power play, Chase Norrish hit Granbois who ripped a shot past Christie.
The backbreaker for Lacombe came with less than 10 seconds left in the period. Ian White found Devon LeBlanc and with only five seconds left, he buried to open up a 3-1 lead for Manitoba side.
Still, the Generals refused to quite and peppered Christie in the third period. Levi Nelson buried for the Generals to get them within a goal early in the third, but that’s as close as the home side got.
The Prairie Thunder are off Tuesday and the Generals will take on Haut-Madawaska at 8 p.m.