The Cochrane Generals finished November with a three-game winning streak and carried their strong play into December, taking away three of a possible four points in back-to-back road games in Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL) action on Dec. 2 and 3.
The Generals kick started a mini three-game road trip in a rematch of last year’s league final against the Red Deer Vipers. The game was back and forth all night long, but Red Deer came away with the extra point after a 6-5 shootout win.
The first period was quiet until the 1:47 mark, when Generals forward Jarod Domingo took a feed from Jordan Fisher and beat the Vipers goaltender to give the Gens a 1-0 lead. That lead was short-lived though, as Red Deer tied the game 40 seconds later with a power play marker to knot the game up at intermission. The teams traded goals in the second period, with Domingo scoring his second and third goals on the game to answer Red Deer after they had taken a 2-1 and 3-2 lead. The third period was more of the same with Domingo getting his fourth goal, followed up by a Scott Shugg tally, to put the Generals in front 5-3. Cochrane struggled to defend the lead, allowing Red Deer to hammer home back-to-back power play markers, with the last one coming with 20 seconds remaining in the contest, to once again tie the game up at five.
The five-minute overtime solved nothing, sending the game to a shootout. The Vipers scored on their first two attempts, while Talus Hume was the lone goal scorer for the Generals. Slater Ransom was stopped on Cochrane’s final try to give Red Deer the victory.
Domingo had an outstanding game, scoring four of the team’s five goals, while Colton Wong and Jordan Fisher chipped in with two assists each. Goaltender Erik Garber was solid in net, stopping 34 of the 39 shots he faced throughout the 65 minutes he played.
Domingo said scoring four goals was nice, but would have been better had his team come away with a victory.
“It was a rush of adrenaline getting one after the other. At the time, I was just focusing on getting the puck to the net to get some secondary scoring chances,” Domingo said.
“Honestly, (Jordan) Fisher and (Chris) Sambrook were making my job easier after winning battles on the wall and making some quick plays. I was excited because we haven’t had that sort of chemistry yet this season. I haven’t scored four goals in junior so it was a nice surprise. Would have been a bit sweeter had we gotten the extra point.”
The second night went more in the Generals’ favour. Cochrane dismantled the Ponoka Stampeders by a score of 8-2.
The Gens scored seven consecutive goals in the first two periods, with Slater Ransom and Talus Hume each potting a pair with Scott Shugg, Brandon Aab and River Ross all getting in on the action before Ponoka scored their first goal at the 5:30 mark of the second period. Ransom added his third goal of the game and the Stampeders scored once more to give the game its final score of 8-2.
Hume and Ransom finished the game with six and five points respectively, as Hume had two goals and four assists and Ransom had three goals and two helpers. Brandon Aab also had a five-point game with a goal and four assists on the evening.
Newcomer Knute Loe was sharp when tested in his first game in the Generals goal crease, stopping 27 of the 29 shots Ponoka threw his way.
After his line generated 16 points between the three of them, Ransom said he has built up good chemistry with Hume and Aab.
“It’s always nice to connect with a couple guys and so far we’re having success,” Ransom said.
“Hopefully, we can continue to produce and improve as the season goes alone and the games get tougher.”
The Generals will finish out their road trip with a visit to Strathmore to play the Wheatland Kings on Dec. 9. The team will then return home the following weekend to face off with the Okotoks Bisons and High River Flyers on Dec. 15 and 16.