In a game that meant more to the Moose Jaw Generals than the Saskatoon Contacts, they sure didn’t play with the highest intensity.
The Generals are fighting to keep the third-placed seed in the standings. They battled back, but they just couldn’t hold on, resulting in a 5-5 tie with the Contacts in Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League action on Thursday evening at Mosaic Place.
“It wasn’t a pretty effort, but we will take the point,” said Generals head coach Ray Wareham. “At this point of year, to play this kind of sloppy hockey, it is frustrating.”
Regan Nagy opened the scoring for the Generals then it was Donovan Neuls, Rkyr Cole and Ty Symenuk scoring the middle frame. After going down 3-1 after the first period, the Generals battled back with three goals in the second frame and took the lead.
“After the first period, we challenged them with their character. Character is what is going to win us games in the playoffs. All these teams are evenly matched,” stated Wareham.
Cohen Yano scored late in the third period on the power play to extend the Generals lead, but then Saskatoon got two goals to send the game to overtime.
“When we go up 5-3 and stick a dagger, you can’t let them score the next shift,” he said. “When we play like this when the puck is a grenade on our stick and turnover after turnover…it just is frustrating.”
The Contacts fourth goal came with an extra attacker on the ice and a General forward lost his player in the slot, resulting in a point-blank shot that goaltender Grant Naherniak couldn’t adjust for. With 15.6 seconds left in the game, a scramble in front of the net resulted in the Contacts scoring the tying goal.
“Our guys know if they have an extra attacker, you have to have puck pressure and then puck support after that. You can’t back off guys and let them make plays,” explained Wareham. “We had opportunities to get the puck out of the zone and we couldn’t do it. Eventually, it is going to end up in the net. These guys have scored close to 190 goals this year…they aren’t going to miss those opportunities.
“Hopefully it is a lesson learned, but it is unfortunate they have to learn it this late in the year. You would think we would have already figured it out.”
The Generals also got some bad news about their captain Rhett Gardner during the game. It appears like he will be about long-term with a shoulder injury he suffered in the first period.
“It doesn’t look to good. It is similar to the Grand Forks situation. It is the other shoulder he hurt though,” said Wareham.
With only a point separating the third-placed Generals and the fourth-placed Regina Pats Canadians, this final weekend series has a lot more on the line. The Generals will travel to Regina on Saturday and will wrap up their season on Sunday (1:30 p.m., Mosaic Place) against the Pat C’s.
“We still have that battle for third place and we are up a point now,” said Wareham. “It comes down to these two games. The best scenario would be to win on Saturday and then give some guys the day off on Sunday and rest up a bit.”