Sylvan Lake Admirals faced a ‘do or die’ situation on Friday against the Bentley Generals and were unable to overcome the scoring power of the opposition. They were down three games to none to Bentley in the best of seven series. The last two games had been close but a mid-period lapse in play by the Admirals had allowed the Generals to score goals that proved to be the winners.
From the drop of the puck Friday, both teams played with solid determination, neither side giving an inch. The Admirals played ‘in your face’ hockey and were pushing the Generals at every opportunity.
Bentley struck first on the power play 8:33 into the game but the Admirals kept pushing. The hard work paid off at the end of the period. With just two seconds remaining and on the power play, the Admirals tied the game when Kurtis Ross scored from Rob Turville and Turner Lachance.
The second period saw Bentley jump back in the lead just four minutes after the faceoff. A cross checking penalty gave the Generals a power play and one minute into it, they capitalized. Just 29 seconds later, on a bad giveaway, the Generals struck again to take a 3-1 lead.
Again the Admirals fought back, refusing to lay down and the second ended with Bentley leading 3-1.
The third period turned into a shooting gallery as both teams opened up. The Admirals made it 3-2 at the 5:26 mark when Aaron Boyer scored from Branden Gay and Jeff Young. Two minutes later the Generals scored when Dustin Sprout drove to the net. When Admirals goaltender Andy Williams attempted to poke check him, the puck went off his stick and over his shoulder into the net. 29 seconds later, the Generals Trent Hunter drove wide and backhanded a shot over the shoulder of the crouching Williams.
The Admirals kept battling and within 24 seconds made it 5-3 Bentley, when Paul Mailey buried one from Adam McPherson and Brandon Knelsen.
For the next seven minutes play seemed to slow a little as both sides had been going hard. An errant pass soon changed that as the Generals Dustin Sprout knocked the puck down and drove to the net. One more time he drove wide and flipped the back hand over a crouching goaltender, picking the open top corner, short side.
The Admirals had an answer to that when Brendan Baumgartner chipped the puck out while killing an Admirals penalty. Speedy winger Paul Mailey got to the puck first and found the back of the net, scoring shorthanded with 2:28 to go.
The Generals quickly answered, scoring their third power play goal of the night and capping the evening’s scoring with their seventh goal. Final score 7-4 Bentley.
“You never want to take a loss,” said Coach/GM Jason Stephens. “But the guys played hard and we’re proud of each of them. Our goaltending wasn’t up to its normal standards and we were playing with less than our #1 line up. Injuries and players lost to pro contracts or scholarships caused our play to suffer this year and we just couldn’t seem to overcome it.
“On defense alone this series against Bentley, we lost an affiliate to a broken hand and three regular D men to a broken thumb, a sliced leg and a broken ankle. Our front end also got shortened up with injuries, work, family emergencies and college commitments,” said Stephens.
“Not that any of these things are unusual in senior hockey in small doses but we just happened to get hit with it all, in a big way, all season long, then even more so in this playoff series. When you add it all up, it’s almost amusing to list the string of events together and wonder how it all happened in one season.
“We wish Bentley all the best in their quest for the Allan Cup, they’re a good team deep in talent and should do well.”
That wraps up the hockey season for the Admirals, who are already making plans for an improved showing in the 2013-2014 season.