Youth was on the ice for the Moose Jaw Generals as the team started their pre-season against the Regina Pat Canadians.
With more than half the roster as bantam aged players, the Generals fell 5-3 to the Pat C’s on Sunday evening at Mosaic Place in Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League action.
“We didn’t think they were ready yet to play at this level, but we wanted to give them the experience,” stated Ray Wareham, head coach of the Generals. “This was a chance to get some guys in the lineup.”
The loss wasn’t how the Generals wanted to start the exhibition season, but the experience alone will help the young players when they return to their respective bantam teams.
“We obviously want to win every game, but the outcome wasn’t the big thing, it was trying to see guys at this level and see their compete level,” he said. “It was good for those young guys to have the dressing room and take ownership and step up. We saw some encouraging things and good for them to take leadership roles without any veterans in the lineup.”
Penalty trouble was the issue for the Generals, as the Pat C’s went 3-for-10 on the man advantage. Regina scored two goals in the opening frame, one on the power play. Keanan Chomyn scored on the man advantage in the second period from Kyle Arndt to get the Generals on the board, but Regina would score late to keep a two-goal lead.
Donovan Neuls scored on an assist by Dakota Boutin for the Generals in the third period. The Pat C’s scored back-to-back power play goals late in the final frame. Rykr Cole scored the Generals final goal from Neuls and Boutin with 1:32 remaining.
“There was a lot of positives and some things we need to work on, but overall, it has been pretty good,” said Wareham. “Last week has been fun and nice to give those kids the opportunities, but it has been frustrating because we have guys coming and going.”
The Generals will travel to Regina tonight to play their second pre-season game before travelling to Calgary to compete at the Calgary Edge Academy tournament from Sept. 14-16.
“More veterans guys will be in the lineup…probably seven or eight guys that weren’t dressed that will be in there and that will make a big difference right away,” he stated.