The host Lacombe Generals competed in the 8pm game of Day 1 of the Allan Cup against an arch nemesis of sorts, the South East Prairie Thunder who are the Manitoba representatives this year.
In a word, this game would leave fans “breathless.” I was fortunate enough to join the gentlemen from HN Sports to call this game, which gave me a great advantage to review some ridiculous plays.
The Lacombe Generals wasted no time going on the assault, forcing SEPT goaltender Steve Christie (who some SPHL fans may remember) to make some stellar saves to open the first period. Within the first five minutes of the game Jesse Todd had two great chances to start the hosts off on the right note, but each time he was in alone, Christie came out and cut the angle down expertly leaving Todd with not much to shoot at.
Eventually the first goal of the game came along at the opposite end as Tyler Dittmer got off a hard wrist shot that somehow fooled Gens goaltender Tyler Weiman on the glove side.
Lacombe had two great opportunities to tie the game and even take the lead on the power play but SEPT would not let them set up, choosing to stack the blue line and disrupt the Generals set up time and time again. Frustratingly for the home fans, the Gens were down 1-0 after one.
The second period started off much the same with the Generals on the attack, this time, Ian Barteau and Nathan Deck were leading the Generals charge, and again Steve Christie was forced to make save after save, stopping two hard one timers from the blue line and flat out robbing Deck with his glove hand off of a well set up 3-on-2 opportunity.
Lacombe would get in a bit of penalty trouble and South East would make them pay as Brad Cole sniped a top corner shot past the out stretched glove of Weiman.
Travis Granbois would finally beat Steve Christie on their 33rd shot of the game to bring the Generals within one. Lacombe was pouring on shots but Christie unlike James Bonds martini did not look shaken and he certainly had the crowd stirred up.
SEPT would tally again with five seconds left in the period via Devon Leblanc’s unassisted goal giving them a 3-1 lead heading to the final frame.
The third period opened up with Lacombe calming things down a bit, looking for better opportunities to shoot and they soon found their lanes to do so. Jesse Todd, Nolan Huysmans and Dylan Nowakowski all found themselves looking skyward after Grade A opportunities to score, two of which saw Christie go post to post to stop one timers that he had absolutley no business in making.
Levi Nelson with moves that you would of seen in NHL 94, cut across the goalmouth and just managed to lift a laser accurate shot blocker side to bring the Generals within one.
From there they kept up with the onslaught of shots, Steve Christie looking like Goldburg out there stopping everything in sight. Just when it seemed like the Gens might tie the game, they coughed up the puck at the top of their own blue line allowing Devon Leblanc to go in uncontested and beat Tyler Weiman for their fourth goal of the game.
When the dust settled, Lacombe had fired 54 shots on goal, an additional 15 were blocked by defencemen and Steve Christie stopped 52 on his own. The South East Prairie Thunder escaped with a win they had no business in getting. The final score, 4-2.
South East moves to 1-0 with the win, and will be off until Wednesday, when they take on the Haut-Madawaska Panthers, while the host Generals drop to 0-1, and will take on that same Haut-Madawaska team this evening at 8pm MDT.
For a full schedule of the games, and links for streaming, please visit the Allan Cup Website.