Ray Wareham has gotten what he wanted at the Mac’s Midget Hockey Tournament.
Moose Jaw Generals
Monday the Moose Jaw Generals will play a very good team in a must-win hockey game.
“We have to win. If we win I think we have a pretty good chance at moving on. If we don’t we’ll be going home,” said Wareham, the Generals head coach. “It’s the kind of situation we wanted to be in. We wanted that pressure. Hopefully we can handle it.”
The Generals earned their Monday morning showdown with the Vancouver NW Giants thanks to a comfortable 4-1 win over the Calgary Northstars. The Generals are 2-1 at the Calgary tournament and can advance to Tuesday’s quarter-finals with a win.
The Giants drew their opening game against Leduc 5-5 and then narrowly lost 4-3 to the Swiss under-17 team that has clinched first place in Pool 1. Last year the Giants won the tournament and the BC Major Midget League. They lost the Pacific regional final to Red Deer, the eventual Telus Cup champions, after two of those games went to overtime.
“It’s going to be tough. They’re traditionally a strong team,” said Wareham.
Wareham tinkered with the Generals’ tactics Saturday night and was very happy with how his team adapted.
“We changed things up a little bit, we tried a new forecheck, and we were able to execute it and generate some chances. It was good,” said Wareham.
“I thought we were a little too passive the other night, so I wanted to do something more aggressive. Plus we wanted the guys to be able to adapt in-game if we have to change things up. I thought they did a good job of that.
Wareham, who has a deserved reputation for defensive, trapping hockey, activated his defencemen and was far more aggressive on the forecheck.
“They were pinching down the wall. You could tell some of them really enjoyed the freedom,” said Wareham. “We knew there was going to be mistakes, but I give the kids credit — they tried it, they executed it and worked hard at it.
“We got caught a couple of times too, but considering we had a team meeting and went over it on the white board this afternoon, they did a pretty good job at it.”
Jared Legien opened the scoring in the first period as the Generals scored a power play for the third straight game. Affiliate Brett Reidy doubled their lead in the second period before Kyle Sargent and Rykr Cole added third period goals. Jordan Xavier broke up the shutout for Calgary on the power play.
Grant Naherniak made 23 saves in the win. Donovan Neuls and Dawson Davidson each had two assists for the Generals.
The Warriors will be without captain Trey Tendler for the rest of the tournament after he was injured Friday night, but the prognosis is good. The injury is believed to be muscular and Tendler isn’t expected to be sidelined for any extended period of time.
“He’s meant so much to us, I don’t want to take a chance,” said Wareham.