There’s no easy way to end a season, but this was surely one of the cruelest.
The Moose Jaw Generals lost 3-2 in quadruple-overtime to the Saskatoon Blazers Wednesday. The Game 4 win gives the Blazers a series victory over the Generals in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League playoffs.
Jackson Michalenko scored a power play goal with 3:43 left in the fourth overtime shortly after midnight to end the longest game in Moose Jaw midget AAA history.
“The kids just battled their (butts) off. It’s unfortunate. It’s a tough way to lose,” said Generals head coach Ray Wareham.
“I feel bad for the 17-year-olds. (Goalie) Ryland Pashovitz was unbelievable tonight. They got that one and he stayed down on the ice for a long time. That’s it for his midget career now. You feel for guys like that.
“It doesn’t feel too good now, but later on in life it’s a memory that you have. You might not play in a game like that again.”
Last season, the Generals beat the Saskatoon Contacts in triple overtime, but Wednesday’s game was more than a period longer.
“Most of the guys were saying this was the longest game they’ve ever been in,” said Wareham.
Generals defenceman Tanner Davies took a hooking penalty with 5:04 left in the fourth overtime and Michalenko and the Blazers converted.
“It’s the long change and our guys were just bagged,” said Wareham. “We caught on a bit of a change and they got a bit of a break.”
After winning Game 1, the Generals dropped three straight to bow out in the first round. It was a disappointing end to a fantastic season. They were 26-13-4-1 during the regular season.
“It’s unfortunate that in the first three games we didn’t have that kind of effort. If we did we wouldn’t have been in this situation,” said Wareham. “They sure worked hard tonight. I couldn’t ask anything more from them.”
Having played Game 3 Tuesday both teams were feeling the effects as the game wore on. The Generals only dressed 15 skaters as they battled injuries during the post-season.
“There were just warrior-like efforts from guys — and I mean it was everyone — but (Ty) Vallee blocked about 30 shots himself tonight. He’s banged up and I’m sure he’s just black and blue all over,” said Wareham who also praised Davies, but said all of his players gave it everything they had.
The Generals came out and played as if their season was on the line. They out-shot the Blazers 12-4 and earned three power play chances, but were only able to beat Blazers goalie Evan Weninger once. Stephen Wilson scored an unassisted goal midway through the frame.
The Blazers earned five straight power plays in the second half of the game, including a double-minor to Pashovitz for a butt-end. Lane Pederson tied the game on the power play and Keegan Allison gave the Blazers a 2-1 lead in the third period.
Allison and Pederson each had two goals in the series and they both assisted on the game-winner. Their line with Matt McLeod accounted for seven of the Blazers nine goals in the series.
Generals captain Rhett Gardner tied to the game with 6:26 left in the third period to force overtime.
The Generals killed off a pair of power plays in overtime and failed to score when the Blazers were assessed a bench minor in double-overtime.
“I thought they got away with quite a bit in overtime and everything we did got a call, but the call itself was probably a penalty,” said Wareham.
The Blazers finished 2-for-10 on the power play. The Generals were 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
Pashovitz made 54 saves, while Weninger made 53 for the Blazers.