After a pair of losses to start their regular season, the Cochrane Generals bounced back in a big way after a road win against a tough Airdrie Thunder team on Sept. 29, while trouncing the Ponoka Stampeders in their home opener on Sept. 30.
The Gens defeated the Thunder 5-3 to register their first win of the season. Will Gretton, Scott Shugg, Chris Sambrook, Talus Hume and Braden Bain all scored for Cochrane, while goaltender Erik Garber made 31 saves on 34 shots in his first career start as a General. Cochrane fired 57 shots at former Gens goaltender Ryan Simpson, who now plays for Airdrie.
The game was tied at three midway through the third period before Hume took a feed from last year’s leading scorer Slater Ransom and beat Simpson to put the Generals ahead for good.
Ransom said it was good to get the first win out of the way after being outscored 16-5 in their opening two games.
“I don’t think anyone expects the start of their season to go off without a hitch, but it was great to see the boys bounce back and get the four points,” Ransom said.
“Hopefully we can build on this weekend now that the jitters are out, and start working towards the next banner.”
The Generals took on Ponoka the following day for their annual homeopener and after a bit of a slow start, the Gens cruised to an 8-0 win over the Stampeders. Walid Hassin got the party started with his first of two goals late in the first period. Braden Bain also potted a pair of goals, and Slater Ransom put on his usual performance with two goals and two assists for four points on the evening. Erik Garber, making his second straight start, stopped all 23 shots he faced to record the shut out.
The Generals were two for three on the power play, and forced Ponoka to go zero for seven.
Garber said it was nice to get in and help his team win a couple games, especially after sitting out his team’s opening games.
“It feels great to start the year with two wins with a new team and a fresh slate to work with,” Garber said.
“It was tough to have to watch the first two games because of some Hockey Canada paperwork issues making me unable to play, knowing I wasn’t able to help my team out. So I’m just happy to be able to play with the Generals and help the team out as much as I can.”
With a pair of big games approaching, Garber says the Gens can’t take anything for granted.
“We haven’t played Three Hills yet, I’m not 100 per cent sure what to expect, but I know the Generals had success against them last year, so I expect the same for this year,” he said.
“After losing to Strathmore in game two, we have some redemption we will have to take care of. We will especially have a fire under our bellies for those two points.”
The Generals will take on the Three Hills Thrashers on Oct. 6 and the Strathmore Wheatland Kings on Oct. 8 in their second and third games of the team’s six game home stand.