Neuls gives Generals life

Katie
Katie Brickman
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Overtime hero extends Generals season

Donovan Neuls almost lost his voice.

Moose Jaw Generals defenceman Regan Sieferling reacts after teammate Donovan Neuls scored the overtime goal over Regina in Game 3 of their Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League playoff series at Mosaic Place on Tuesday night. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

He yelled so loudly and long and was at the bottom of the pile as his teammates jumped on him, celebrating his overtime goal over the Regina Pat Canadians.

That goal just 25 seconds into the extra frame gave the Moose Jaw Generals some life in their Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockley League series.

“It is amazing. It is a big win, for sure,” said Neuls. “Before the game started, we said, ‘There is nothing to save it for … lay it all on the line here and wake up tomorrow with no regrets.’”

That outlook seemed to work for the Generals as they won 3-2 over the Pat Canadians on Tuesday night at Mosaic Place in Game 3 of their best-of-five series. Regina still leads the series 2-1.

“We played a good game and put ourselves in a position to win,” said Brad Herauf, head coach for Regina. “I think for a lot of the time, we had control of the game, but a mistake here and there and that is the difference in the game.”

The Pat Canadians scored just over a minute into the game when Jayden Halbgewachs beat Colby Entz on a wrap around.

“I thought we started slow and it looked like we were a little nervous,” said Ray Wareham, head coach for the Generals. “Even after the first goal where we had a miscommunication on a change, we could have pitched a tent and we didn’t … we answered back.”

Josh Miller scored his first of two in the game in the first period and had the teams knotted after 20 minutes.

It was Miller again midway through the second period on a delayed penalty that beat Logan Flodell to give the Generals a lead.

“It gets tighter in the playoffs and we need to spread it out a little bit,” said Wareham. “Some of our other guys are struggling right now.”

Late in the third period, Kaiden Jones scored on a big rebound by Entz in the slot to again tie the game.

“We could have packed it in again, but the kids battled hard again,” said Wareham.

The Generals had the advantage on the shot clock after regulation and were carrying some momentum into the overtime frame, but a shot by Neuls ended it quickly.

“To be honest, I just shot the puck as fast as I could. I knew the defenceman was coming out,” explained Neuls. “It wasn’t the hardest shot, but the D-man screened the goalie and it happened to go in.”

The Generals now focus on trying to equalize the series on Friday night in Regina for Game 4.

“Definitely getting that first one under belts (is a relief), but we have to take it one game at a time,” said Neuls.

It was also a confidence boost for the Generals to be able to beat Flodell three times, as the goaltender has been stellar thus far this series.

“For a while, I didn’t think we were going to get any past him,” said Wareham. “He is obviously an elite goalie in our league and they collapse well taking the slot away from us.”

Entz made 19 saves in his first playoff game and will most likely get the start over veteran Grant Naherniak on Friday.

“Naherniak hasn’t been doing very good the last little while. He wasn’t feeling 100 per cent,” said Wareham. “We thought a change might be a good little spark and Colby was eager to get at it. I thought it made some big saves for us and he was good.”

Game 5 will go Sunday (1:30 p.m., Mosaic Place) if necessary.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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