A split wasn’t what they were hoping for, but after a lackluster effort, the Moose Jaw Generals will take at least one victory.
“I’m just tickled pink we are coming home with a spilt. We were awful all weekend,” stated Ray Wareham, head coach for the Generals. “It was not the way we wanted to play and I don’t know what happened to us, especially after Thursday night, but it was not a good weekend.”
That “awful” weekend included a 4-1 win over the Battleford Stars on Saturday and then a 4-3 loss on Sunday in North Battleford.
“I don’t think we dominated as much as the shots indicated on Saturday…way too many mistakes and thankfully they didn’t capitalize,” he said.
The Generals got goals from Rykr Cole, Ty Vallee, Reagan Nagy and Trey Tendler on Saturday. On Sunday, the Generals scored three straight goals in the first period from Ben Duperreault and Rhett Gardner, but then gave up four goals to the Stars in the final two periods.
“When you play soft and scared, you aren’t going to win many hockey games,” explained Wareham. “We jumped on them and then they decided to play physical and we decided to dance around like ballerinas and the end result was giving up a three-goal lead and lose.”
Despite the high level of skill the Generals have, many of the players didn’t show up to play, Wareham felt. However, it felt that the Stars deserved to win both games over the weekend.
“I think if you go down the rosters of both teams, I think skill-wise it probably tips our way, but that just tells you how much skill will get you with no work. It gets you nothing,” he said. “Credit to them…I think they outworked us all weekend and they worked their butts off and we didn’t want to work and I just happy we were able to squeak out one and come home with at least a split.”
Ashton Clark of the Stars got the scoring started for the home team and was a problem for the Generals on Sunday.
“We played scared…we played intimidated and Ashton Clark ran our show and we just didn’t have an answer for him,” he said. “No one stepped up physically and the end result is that you get a split instead of four points. It just goes to show that if you don’t want to work in this league, you aren’t going to beat anyone.”
The coaching staff was looking for more of a spark from the team that is currently sitting in first place with a point lead, but after a lackluster effort, the Generals are looking for answers.
“I was a little disappointed in our leadership group. I didn’t think anyone stepped up and took charge and led the way. Sometimes, somebody has to say something other than the coaches and I don’t think anything was said this weekend and it sure reflected in our play,” said Wareham. “Hopefully this is another lesson learned, but we are learning the same lesson over and over again and that’s the frustrating part.”
The Generals were without goaltender Grant Naherniak for the weekend and will be without him until Wednesday as he was called up to the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. The Rebels suspended starting keeper Patrik Bartosak for disciplinary reasons.
Brett Banda backed up Ryland Pashovitz on Saturday and Thomas Martineau was back up on Sunday for the Generals.
That is pretty nice for those kids to help us out in the top spot. We can’t thank them enough for helping us out,” said Wareham.