A little dressing room soul searching after Friday night's game must have been what the Cochrane Generals needed.
The fired-up team came out Sunday night to dominate the Okotoks Bisons and came away with a solid 5-0 performance at the Cochrane Arena, Dec 9.
In just six shots in the first period, the Gens were up 2-0 and by the end of the evening had scored five unanswered goals on a mere 23 shots.
Sparks were flying from a sizzling hot Gens goalie Erik Garber. He was a puzzle the Bisons couldn’t solve and turned away 47 shots for a well-deserved shutout.
Gens head coach Travis McMillan believes the Friday night dressing room chat worked.
“The guys came to the rink ready to play and the result was the one we needed.”
The Bisons outmuscled the Gens on Friday night in Okotoks and set the pace of the game. Not so Sunday.
“The guys responded in a positive manner and said we can’t be intimated and we can’t be thrown around so why don’t we give them a taste of their own medicine and play Gens hockey. So that’s essentially what happened.”
Team leading scorers Braden Bain and Harry Olser both scored a pair and Ben Davison notched his third goal in his eighth game of the season.
Zach Cugnet had a pair of helpers and other assists went to Ryan Davis, Caden Chudleigh and Jaedan Dowling.
Friday night, the Gens lost 5-2 in a heated game in Okotoks that boiled over with a pair of fights in the second. At the end of two, the Bisons lead 4-0 and tapped in an empty-netter with 10 seconds left in the game. The Gens scored two in the final stanza with goals coming from Vance Wesley and Caden Chadleigh. Braden Bain had two assists while Taylor Girard, Ray Davis and Keenan McElroy each had one.
The Gens are on the road tomorrow night in a rare Tuesday game. It will be their first game of the season against the Strathmore Wheatland Kings. The Gens and Kings have been jockeying in the standings and the Kings seem to be a much-improved team this season. They lost a recent game to the league-leading Airdrie Techmation Thunder by just one goal.
“I don’t think that was a fluke, and especially in the south division. There are many good hockey clubs in the south division, that’s why it’s always so tight. So I expect it will be as if we’re playing another team like Okotoks or Red Deer. It will be a hard fought 60 minutes.”
Last night’s loss by the Bisons gave the south division leading Coaldale Copperheads, who are on an eight-game winning streak, a little more breathing space.
Injuries Shortens Bench
Injuries have shortened the Gens bench for the last three weeks and last night they had 16 skaters to start the game. Early in the second, they were down to 15 when Vance Wesley left the game with a shoulder injury.
Captain Brandon Aabs has been fighting an ailment for a few weeks and will be set to return shortly. Linemates River Ross and Caylin Wildman are out, as is Carter Cugnet.
There are three games remaining before the Christmas break, the last here in Cochrane against the High River Flyers. After that, they don't play again until Jan. 4 and it will give them time to rest and heal.
Still, McMillan is impressed with how the team is performing despite the shorter bench.
“We have had a few guys out and fortunately we have a deep enough roster. Last night, the guys were going. It just goes to show you don’t need a full roster of your all-star cast to win a hockey game especially against a good hockey club like Okotoks.”