Team will host Hounds on Sunday
Moose Jaw Generals
The difficult decisions just got tougher for the Moose Jaw Generals.
The team wrapped up their weekend with three victories in an exhibition tournament in Swift Current.
“There were lots of encouraging signs. We know it is exhibition, but it is encouraging,” said Generals head coach Ray Wareham. “We just wanted to go into this weekend and make sure we worked hard.”
The Generals opened up the tournament with a 6-4 win over the SISEL Selects from Chestermere, Switzerland on Friday evening. The team is from the Swiss International Sports and Education Centre that had players from all over the world.
“On Friday night, we had pretty much an all rookie line up. For 40 minutes, we looked fantastic and I think it was 6-1 at one point,” stated Wareham. “In the third period, we got relaxed and they got a couple late goals to make it closer than it was.”
On Saturday morning, the Generals continued to work hard for a 4-2 win over the Calgary Edge Academy.
“I thought our most complete game of the weekend was on Saturday against the Edge Academy. I thought we were real good from start to finish,” he said.
The team wrapped up the tournament handily with a 13-0 victory over host team, the Swift Current Legionnaires.
“On Sunday, it just seemed like everything we touched just went into the net,” said Wareham.
The Generals held their camp in the middle of August and then players went to their respective Western Hockey League camps. This was the first time the players have been back on the ice as a team since that camp.
“We only got on the ice for three days prior to this weekend. So for the kids to go out and try to implement what we showed them in the three days was encouraging,” stated Wareham. “I would be hard-pressed to single guys out for poor play. I thought everyone played well when they had their opportunities.”
With solid play from everyone, the coaching staff now has some difficult decisions to make on who will make the team.
“There have been some pleasant surprises. It has us thinking. We aren’t going to make any changes here and will go another weekend,” stated Wareham. “We were thinking maybe about cutting back here after this weekend, but some guys really stepped up and played well. They have earned the opportunity to show us more of what they got. It is going to be tough…some of those guys have got us thinking and we will see how it goes.”
The Generals are still without Ben Verrall (Prince Albert), Regan Nagy (Victoria) and Ben Duperreault (Moose Jaw). However, they did get back Rykr Cole (Regina), Grant Naherniak (Red Deer) and Dakota Boutin (Brandon), as they were all re-assigned.
“We were on pins and needles for awhile because we were hearing just the opposite, but then they started trickling back. It is nice to get them back and start rolling early and start that bonding early in the dressing room,” explained Wareham. “We still have three away still and we hope the best for them, but we will be here with open arms if they are coming back. We will wait and see, but I don’t see it playing itself out probably until the first league game, so it will be awhile yet.”
The team will head to Wilcox on Saturday to play with Under-16 provincial team. There are six General players that are on that team as well. On Sunday, the Generals will have their first pre-season game when the Notre Dame Hounds visit (Mosaic Place, 7 p.m.).
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