Submitted – Special to Sylvan Lake News
If you walked away from the Admirals’ Oct. 26 home game against Bentley and left thinking the Generals just rolled over Sylvan Lake, then you are definitely a Generals’ fan.
The ultimate score of 7-2 for the Generals was the smallest part of what really happened on the ice. You had to be there to actually catch the drift of what occurred as four minutes of play determined the entire outcome.
The game started with both teams going full tilt, end to end. The usual Generals’ game of trapping the opposition in their own end was taken away by the improved defensive core of the Admirals being able to handle the pressure and move the puck with authority. It was the Admirals who drew first blood when Kurtis Ross was given a lead pass from Brian Pieper, catching the Generals’ D men flat-footed. One-onone. Ross has the patience and soft hands to make it count most times and this was no exception. Out-waiting the Generals’ goalie, Yonkman, Ross went to the backhand and slid it home with 10:52 gone in the period.
Play continued to be high tempo with equal opportunity at either end but it was at the end of the period with 3:15 to go that an Admirals’ penalty gave Bentley the opening it needed.
With 1:45 to go, the always-dangerous Bentley powerplay evened the score. Just over a minute later, Bentley struck again when the Admirals miscued on defence and a pass from behind the net left the Generals with an open net to make the score 2-1, just seconds before the period ended.
Both teams came out for the second period firing on all cylinders and the Admirals appeared to have shaken off the late first-period goal, skating hard and staying in the game. It soon became evident that the man in stripes could only see one colour of jersey. The first call came at 17:43 and it was a good call if you ignored what came after it when a nearly identical situation in reverse went uncalled, directly in front of the official.
Fourteen seconds later another odd call had the Admirals coaching staff obviously upset so a bench minor was awarded as well. The one-way parade and missed calls left the Admirals short one or two men until the 12:40 mark of the second. In all that time Bentley managed only one goal, at the 12:26 mark, making it 3-1.
Just when you thought it was going to get better, a lead pass up the wing was called on the offside, even though the Admirals’ player was following the puck across the Generals’ blue line. The Admirals’ players were mad and for a time it worked, with Aaron Boyer from Ernie Stewart and Kelly Kramer making it 3-2 at 7:50 but the momentum had long ago shifted and frustration had the Admirals chasing the puck — not playing hockey.
The Generals took full advantage and scored four times on the next six shots, almost every goal into an open side. The period ended with the Generals leading 7-2.
Coach Ted Stephens had obviously calmed the players in between periods as the real Admirals stepped onto the ice for the third. Action was again end-to-end, high-speed puck movement with neither side giving an inch. Defence was solid at both ends and most shots were easy saves for the two tenders. The Admirals couldn’t get anything going but showed that they had heart by refusing to lay down and let the opposition roll over them. Final score 7-2 Bentley.
“It’s frustrating,” commented Stephens after the game. “We work hard to bring new players in to keep the team competitive and then the officiating has a bad night. Everyone has a bad night now and then, that’s a given, it’s just frustrating when it happens.
“Our guys just have to learn to deal with it better and stop focusing on the referees. Once you’re distracted like that, you lose touch with the game and start missing assignments. That’s what we did and Bentley took full advantage. We were in it at 3-2 with eight minutes to go in the second but lost touch for five minutes and gave up four unanswered goals. We beat ourselves and it had nothing to do with the officials at that point.
“It was good to see the boys settle down for the third period but we needed to be a little more aggressive to get things going again. We’ve had more than our fair share of no-shows and gone south from players and have worked overtime to get it back on track. I’m confident we’re there now and our record of 0-3 isn’t reflective of how we are capable of playing with our current lineup. We still have one or two additions that are coming but overall we’re in good shape moving forward.”
The next home game is Nov. 1 when the Stony Plain Eagles will be in town. Puck drops at 8:30 p.m.