When the song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” blasts from the Gens dressing room, you can’t help but feel it’s a been a good night.
The team has been able to play the song loud and proud of late and Friday night was no different.
The Cochrane Generals are going into Cochrane Arena for this afternoon’s game against the Lomond Lakers with a 6-4 record after notching a huge 10-2 victory over the Blackfalds Wranglers, Nov. 2.
The Gens found their form with the game tied 1-1 at the halfway mark of the first and outpaced the Wranglers for the balance of the game. They controlled the play in the neutral zone and limited shots on goalie Rob Michette to 28 while blasting 46 at two Wranglers goalies.
The Gens were up 3-1 after one, 6-1 after two and instead of going into a defensive shell capped it off with four in the final stanza. The Wranglers scored their only other goal of the game on a power play with 48 seconds remaining.
Braden Bain led the Gens in scoring with two goals, two assists on the night including a spectacular shot on his knees to beat Wranglers goalie Maxim Currie at close range earlier in the third.
Harry Osler had a three-point night with a goal and two assists.
The Gens continue to spread their scoring between their four lines. Also scoring were Justin Berube, Chris Sambrook, Sam Norris, Ben Davison, River Ross, Vance Wesley and Captain Brandon Aab.
Creating four balanced lines has been the aim from the start of the season and it’s starting to pay dividends.
“Trying to find those good combinations was a struggle early on in the season, but now all our lines are starting to click,” says Gens head coach Travis McMillan. “Everybody knows how everybody plays. We just took a little longer to realize it and now it’s paying off on the scoreboard.”
The team is playing a complete game after undisciplined play provided costly.
“Things that were trending in the negative at the very beginning of the season basically don’t exist now. We’re taking fewer penalties, we’re staying positive, getting pucks on net and we’re rolling four lines. I think we have a very strong core and I think we finally found our chemistry.”
The Gens have tightened up in the neutral zone and that appears to be stifling their opponents.
“Turnovers were one of our big problems at both the offensive and defensive blue lines. Maintaining puck control has been one of our top priorities.”
Still, the team is realizing they can’t take the foot off the gas against any team, especially in the south division where there’s a fair amount of parity.
“They start to realize quite quickly we can’t sleep against any team, regardless of whether its Blackfalds or Ponoka or Airdrie or Okotoks or even Lomond and now Med Hat.”
“I think they’re starting to realize every team is going to work for every puck battle, every shot of net. They’re starting to realize it, which is good.”
That goes for today's game against the Lomond Lakers. The Gens cruised to an easy victory last week against the new south division team, but nothing can be taken for granted.
The puck drops today at 3:45 p.m.