The Moose Jaw Generals opening game loss at the Mac’s Midget Tournament was fairly predictable.
Which isn’t to say that Generals head coach Ray Wareham was at all satisfied.
The Generals lost 4-2 to the Red Deer Chiefs — the reigning national midget AAA champions — to open the elite 25-team tournament in Calgary.
“If it wasn’t for (goalie Rylan Pashovitz), it’s a lot worse. The score really flattered us,” said Wareham. “The shots were something like 19-1 after the first period.
“You can’t make soft plays against a team like that. You have the puck on your stick and an opportunity to get it out of your zone and you don’t, then they create more havoc.”
Pashovitz finished with 34 saves. The Generals were out-shot 37-13.
The Generals were missing goalie Grant Naherniak (called up by Red Deer of the WHL), captain Rhett Gardner (World Under-17 Hockey Challenge) and defenceman Drew Fellner (injury).
Despite their bad start, the Generals hung in the game. Moose Jaw’s Trey Tendler scored in the first period to hold the Red Deer lead to 2-1. Early in the third period affiliate Riley Cannon scored a power play goal to tie the game.
Rory Davidson’s second goal of the game three minutes later gave the Chiefs the lead for good. Gabe Bast scored into an empty net with a second left to ice the game.
“They’re loaded with 16 and 17 year olds. They’re big and strong. They’re deep. They don’t have any real special players, but they work extremely hard. I thought our youth really showed at times and we just weren’t ready to go,” said Wareham.
“They’re the best team we’ve played, I think.”
The Generals have Thursday off and don’t play until later Friday night against Lloydminster. Wareham is hoping the time off will help them rest up and get healthy — winger Donovan Neuls left the game due to illness.
In the other game in Moose Jaw’s pool, the Calgary Royals opened the tournament Wednesday with a 2-1 win over the Lloydminster Bobcats.