Generals off to a galloping post-season start
Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 06:00 am
The Cochrane Generals delivered a heartbreaker of a shutout to the Banff Academy Bears during a Valentine’s Day playoff game – their first of the Heritage Junior Hockey League top team’s post-season push.
There was no love lost at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre Thursday night between the two teams during the opener of a best-of-seven south division semi-final series.
The first period saw an aggressive offence from the Gens, and power forward Connor Rendell managed to lob one into the Bears’ net to earn the team the first point.
The Generals really lifted off in the second period, adding another seven goals to their side of the scoreboard – including two goals from league leader Slater Ransom and another two from Chad Harrison.
Ransom earned the hat trick with another goal to kick off the third period – and by the buzzer, three more pucks had pushed past the Bears’ goalie and into the net, closing out the game with a final score of 12 – 0.
Rookie Walid Hassin said he was thrilled to be part of such a strong team.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said the 18-year-old defenceman, adding he believes it’s the love of the game that keeps the Generals performing so well on the ice.
“The love and the passion for the sport: that’s what drives the team to win,” he said. “Everyone that steps on the ice is smiling … and ready to play.”
The Generals first-place spot earned them a bye through the first round of the playoffs, and they spent part of their week helping out with Rogers Hometown Hockey – playing pick-up with kids at an outdoor rink and working with kids on their slapshots.
The team also got a sizable amount of screen time with Ron MacLean and Tara Slone – and general manager Jacqueline Hurlbert was even called “the queen” by the hockey hosts live on the air.
“It’s awesome to be recognized and it’s very humbling for me. I was not expecting it at all. I am beyond appreciative for that shout out,” said the team GM, adding that although it was amazing to be honoured in such a public forum, the Generals’ success has been the work of everyone on the team – both on and off the ice – including everyone from players and coaches to board members Tanner Boothby and Chase Kinch, to trainer Darlene Ruff and equipment manager and assistant GM Mitch Lawson.
“It’s a group effort … I think the biggest thing is just recognizing that,” she said. “This has been a five-year process … to be this powerhouse in the league.”
The Generals take to the ice on Thursday in Banff for Game 2 of the series. The two teams return to Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. for Game 3.