The Lacombe Generals are halfway to a provincial finals berth after taking a 2-0 lead in their best of seven series against the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs over the Family Day long weekend.
It was by no means a cake walk, however, due to some stellar goaltending by Chiefs netminder Devon Fordyce, having only allowed 4 goals on nearly 90 shots over two games. Generals keeper Steven Stanford was no slouch himself, earning a 2-0 shutout victory in Game 1 and making some key saves on route to a 3-2 overtime win in Game 2. OT winning goal scorer Nolan Huysmans says the Chiefs are here to play.
“Their whole team is playing really well, it’s been really a tough first two games and it’s only going to get tougher next weekend so we’ve got to be ready. It’s been just a lot tighter checking, a lot less room in the neutral zone, it seems like they’re clogging it up really well. They’re making it hard on us and we’ve been fortunate to squeak out a couple of close wins this week.”
The weekend also saw the return of Generals forward Kyle Sheen after serving what amounted to a 41 game suspension for a hit that made headlines across the country last year against former Edmonton Oiler and Stony Plain Eagle Ryan Smyth. Head coach Sean Robertson says it’s great to have him back in the lineup and the dressing room.
“It’s a lift for morale for guys that have been here for a long time. He’s the ultimate teammate. Losing a guy like Don Morrison, you get a guy like Kyle Sheen to step in, it’s funny how everything works. Kyle is a leader on our team because of what kind of human being he is and he puts this team first all the time. Whether he plays two minutes, forty minutes or nothing at all, if he’s in that dressing room, guys know they have to look him in the eye, they know that he’d give his all every time he’s out there so they have to also.”
Game 3 goes Saturday at the Gary Moe Autogroup Sportsplex with the puck drop at 7:30, with Game 4 back in Fort Saskatchewan on Sunday at 2:15. If necessary, Game 5 will be played March 1 in Lacombe.