The Cochrane Generals aim to rack up points in what Head Coach Travis McMillan believes is a pivotal 10 days for the junior ‘B’ club.
The Gens hit the road today for the first in a home-and-home series against the second place Okotoks Bisons and return to the Cochrane Arena for a rematch on Sunday.
That’s followed by two games on the road before returning to the Cochrane Arena to take on the High River Flyers on Dec. 16 in their final outing before the Christmas break.
“Our next five games are going to very big because they all are against teams that are in our division except Three Hills,” says McMillan. “Those are definitely games we need to win or at least take a point away from. This December is going to more important than I think the last couple of Decembers.”
Eight points behind the Bisons in the standings with only one game in hand, the Gens could close the gap with points over the weekend against one of their biggest rivals in the south division of the Heritage Junior Hockey League. The teams have only met once this season in a game that was settled in overtime by the Bisons at Okotoks’ Murray Arena.
That is one of the games McMillan would like to have back this season.
“In Okotoks, it was a case of making a goaltender look good.”
You do, however, run into hot goaltending, as was the case last Saturday night here against the High River Flyers. The Flyers’ Chantz Vinck faced 57 shots from the Gens and only let in one. The Flyers went on to win in overtime, 2-1, on a three-game weekend the Gens were hoping to grab six points. Five is close, though.
“Their goaltending has been very good over the last month and a half. When you put 57 shots on net you've got to put two or three in the back of the net and unfortunately, we couldn’t do that.”
It was different a game earlier against the Flyers. The Gens came away with a 5-2 win on the road.
“We had a great game. Our forecheck was working, the defensive zone was great, we were putting shots on net and getting secondary scoring chances. It was a fun game to be a part of.”
Sunday, the Gens had a crucial 9-1 win on the road against the Lomond Lakers. While the Lakers are a new club in the league that’s trying to get its footing, McMillan told his squad you can’ take anything for granted.
“I told the boys, we can’t take a step back. We have to put the foot on the gas and keep it on the gas. Fortunately enough, that’s what we did on Sunday.”
The bench got shorter as the game progressed with a few nagging injuries and illnesses plaguing the team.
Then there’s forward Scott Shugg. He got nailed on the chin and required stitches but wasn’t ready to call it a night.
“He actually went right to the hospital and came back for the third period.”
Still, McMillan says he'd rather players take the time to let their injuries mend now and have them ready to go in January for the push into the post-season.
Sunday’s home game starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Cochrane Arena.