Shootout losses sink Generals at U.S. tournament

Matthew Gourlie
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Moose Jaw Generals

The Moose Jaw Generals will be happy to return to a league that doesn’t use the shootout.

The local Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League team posted a 1-3 record at The Hockey Academy Midget AAA Showcase tournament in Grand Forks, N.D. The asterisk being that all three loses came via a shootout.

“It was frustrating. You play OK and then it becomes an individual thing and unfortunately it didn’t work out,” said Generals head coach Ray Wareham.

The Generals played some very good teams and gave a good account of themselves despite their losing record.

“For the most part we were OK. We were pretty sporadic at times, but we showed that we can hang in there with the best of them,” said Wareham.

The best may have included two of the best midget AAA teams in Canada. The Red Deer Optimist Chiefs are the reigning Telus Cup champions and the Winnipeg Thrashers won the Telus Cup the year before. While midget hockey is cyclical, both storied programs have very good teams this season.

The Chiefs (9-2-3) are first in the Alberta midget AAA league, while the Thrashers (13-3) are second in Manitoba midget AAA league.

The Generals lost both games 3-2 in the shootout.

“I thought it was our best effort of the weekend,” Wareham said of the game against the Chiefs. “They have a really good team. We ended up losing 3-2 in a shootout, but it was a full 60-minute effort and I thought our guys were really good.”

The Generals beat the San Jose Jr. Sharks 6-2, but suffered a pair of injuries against the big, physical American team.

Forwards Rhett Gardner and Stephen Wilson were both lost for the final two games of the tournament. Wilson, 17, is one of the oldest players on the team and Gardner, the Generals captain, is fourth in league scoring with 23 points in 15 games.

With nothing left to play for, the Generals didn’t have their best game Sunday morning in a 4-3 loss to the Okanagan Hockey Academy.

Organizations: AAA, Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, Telus Winnipeg Thrashers The Hockey Academy Midget AAA Showcase Red Deer Optimist Chiefs Okanagan Hockey Academy

Geographic location: U.S., Grand Forks, N.D., Canada Alberta Manitoba

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