The turnaround in play the Cochrane Generals have been seeking showed its face on the road in Coaldale, Oct. 7.
In their fourth game of the season, the Gens notched an important 3-2 overtime win against the Coaldale Copperheads and that left them 2-1 in the three-game weekend.
After two periods of play, the score was tied 2-2. After a scoreless third, Harry Osler scored the winner, from Brandon Aab, 30 seconds into overtime.
The team had mapped out its first four shifts going into overtime and were ready for four-on-four play, says head coach Travis McMillan.
"It turned out well in our favour," says McMillan. "Harry got a good stick on the puck and it ended up finding the back of the net."
Chris Sambrook scored twice for the Gens with a powerplay goal in the first from River Ross and with the help of Brandon Aab and Andrew Neis late in the second.
The Gens outshot Coaldale, 35-29. Erik Garber was between the pipes.
The Gens were able to overcome the sour taste of losing to the high-flying Airdrie Techmation Thunder on Friday night, 12-4. On home ice they downed the Stettler Lightning, 6-4, to garner their first win of the season, then headed to Coaldale's challenging barn.
“The guys rebounded quite well from our Friday night game going into Saturday and we kept improving from there on Sunday afternoon and managed to get four out of six points. So, I'm happy with the weekend, to say the least,” says McMillan.
It was the Gens best performance in the early goings and McMillan says the best is yet to come.
“We haven't played our best hockey and when the guys were on the bus and when we were doing our pregame prep I think they realized we were a completely different team from what we were last year. They're starting to realize there's going to be a few more battles that we're going to have to win and there’s not going to be any easy games down the road in any situation whether we’re on home ice or not.”
With only a dozen veterans returning and less scoring power than last season, the club is reinventing itself and taking unnecessary penalties, like hooking and slashing, will play a key role.
“We just need to cut that out and start holding ourselves accountable and to work hard and to fight for every loose puck. It worked out pretty well for us on Sunday.”
The Gens are on the road Oct. 13 to face the Red Deer Vipers. Even though the Vipers are 3-2 they aren’t to be taken lightly. McMillan expects them to be as challenging if not more daunting than the Copperheads.
“They are a very tough team, they're very well coached and very well run,” says McMillan. “I know it's going to be a battle. We just need to prepare accordingly and hopefully pull out a few points.”