Squad wins in P.A. for first time in five years; unbeaten to start season
The first game of the regular season for the Moose Jaw Generals turned out to be a reversal of fortunes.
Moose Jaw Generals forward Rykr Cole gets out of the way of the puck as Prince Albert Mintos goalie Lane Michasiw prepares to make the blocker save during the first period on Saturday afternoon at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. Herald photo by Perry Bergson
“It is a huge start to the season because we haven’t won there since 2008-09,” said Generals head coach, Ray Wareham. “It is a good way to kick it off.”
The Generals started their 2013-14 season off with a 1-0 win over the Prince Albert Mintos on Saturday in Prince Albert.
“The first period, we got a little bit of a rude awakening. Our young guys seemed stuck in the mud. I don’t know if it was nerves or what the case may be, but I thought from that point on, we had a nice chat in between the first period and then we really took over the game,” stated Wareham. “I thought we were caught in quicksand and they jumped all over us and we didn’t handle it very well. We were able to get out of there unscathed and then we slowed the game down and played the style of game we wanted to play.”
The Mintos peppered Generals’ goaltender Grant Naherniak with 11 shots in the first period, but then just had to make five saves in the final 40 minutes for the 16-save shutout.
“We wanted to see where we stacked up with them. They have a good team and they work extremely hard,” he said. “They have excellent goaltending and we were able to get a break and come out on top.”
The Generals dominated the final two periods, sending 28 shots on Lane Michasiw, but Donovan Neuls was the lone player to get a puck past him. Michasiw made 37 saves in the loss.
“Their goalie made seven to eight phenomenal saves and they were highlight-reel saves. If he doesn’t make those, it is a lot worse,” said Wareham of Michasiw. “We were pretty good the last two periods of that game.”
The Generals didn’t show the same kind of work ethic against the Beardy’s Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon, but were able to come out with a 7-5 victory.
“I was disappointed with our defensive effort. I thought our five d-men played a lot of minutes, but they didn’t handle their minutes very well. It is a learning experience for them, but they gave up too many odd-man rushes and too many opportunities,” stated Wareham. “Credit to them…they worked extremely hard and took advantage of them, but the one thing I did like about our guys was their resiliency and their ability to keep answering back.”
The Blackhawks and Generals were tied after two periods, but three goals in the third period helped the Generals seal the victory.
“It wasn’t the best effort (Sunday), but the encouraging thing was that we were able to find a way to go and answer every goal they scored,” said Wareham.
The Generals will have a week to work on fine tuning issues before playing the Regina Pat Canadians on Saturday.
“There are lots of positives to take out of the weekend. There are still areas we obviously need to work on, but if we can continue to build off the positives from this weekend, we are going to be in good shape.”
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