Generals look at next best option

Katie Brickman
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Squad held scrimmage games over weekend

While the rest of the top teams in midget AAA throughout Canada are still playing playoff hockey, the Moose Jaw Generals are doing the best they can.

The Moose Jaw Generals got back to work this weekend with a couple scrimmage games at Mosaic Place. On Sunday, they got some help from alumni, including Moose Jaw Warriors forward Ben Duperreault, who is fishing for the puck under Generals goaltender Colby Entz as former General defenceman Sean Whelan pushes Duperreault out of the crease. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

The Generals, some alumni and possible future players hit the ice at Mosaic Place this weekend for two scrimmages.

“I thought Saturday was surprisingly good tempo and pretty intense. We had some brouhahas going on and the intensity was really good. I thought the pace was really good too. Today, it started off all right, but then it tailored off at the end,” said Ray Wareham, head coach of the Generals. “The guys were off for two weeks and the other guys coming back haven’t played in a while, but overall, we have to be pretty happy considering this is our best option. It is a game-like situation and we are pleased with the weekend.”

The Generals, as host for the 2014 Telus Cup, are in a tough spot. The Notre Dame Argos just claimed the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League title over the Battleford Stars – a place the Generals really hoped to be at this point in their season.

“It is tough and when you play each other, no one wants to go all out against each other,” said Wareham. “We don’t want hatred to develop, but we are preaching to them to make it as game-like as we possibly can. It is a hard thing to do.”

Some of the veterans that came out to help the team bring up the intensity during the scrimmages were Moose Jaw Warriors forward Ben Duperreault, Okotoks Oilers forward Rhett Gardner, defencemen Sean Whelan and Brett Bohlken.

“Those guys did what they could. I don’t think they want to hurt anybody either, but it just shows the patience of those guys,” said Wareham. “Hopefully our young guys can learn from it. Overall, the guys that we asked to come out and help us out were good.”

It was positive step forward for defenceman Shane Collins. The second-year player missed the playoffs as he was injured in a game against the Yorkton Harvest near the end of the regular season.

“It is good to get skating again. It feels great as it has been a long time off. It feels good to get back out there this weekend,” said Collins. “Once we lost out, I was getting close. So, then we had a couple weeks off. I didn’t push it and had lots of time.”

The team is focused on getting the intensity up to feel like a game, but Collins realizes it can be difficult when playing against teammates and friends.

“We just have to push each other … just come out and push each other as hard as we can because once we get into the tournament where those guys have been going 110 per cent for the last month and a half,” said Collins.

Although the Generals would rather be playing playoff hockey right now, they can take this time to get everyone healthy before the top teams come to Moose Jaw from April 21 to 27.

“That is an advantage over them because we shouldn’t have any injuries because we’ve had this time off,” said Collins. “Everyone will have the time to heal up if they have any bumps of bruises.”

The Generals will do video on Monday, practice on Tuesday and have another scrimmage game on Wednesday (7:45 p.m., Mosaic Place).

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman

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