The Lacombe Generals finished their season on a heartbreaking note Saturday night, dropping a 7-4 decision to the Stoney Creek Generals in the 2018 Allan Cup final.
Lacombe struck first early in the game with a blast from Ian Barteaux but penalty issues contributed to putting the team behind 3-1 after the first period.
A power play goal from Myles Bell and a short hander from Jesse Todd evened things up at 3-3 heading into the third.
Ian Barteaux scored his second of the game 34 seconds into the final frame to put Lacombe ahead 4-3 but then it was all Stoney Creek, scoring four unanswered goals, including two empty netters, to clinch the national title.
"It's a lot of work to get here. The last couple of years, we fell way short. And this year we finally came through with a well-deserved effort," said Nik Bibic, captain for Stoney Creek. "We were short-staffed for the first few games, played with 13 skaters in the first game which is unheard of at this kind of tournament where you play five games in six days. (To win this) feels very good."
Lacombe was also missing key components of their team including captain Don Morrison, from a neck injury in January, and team leader Kyle Bailey, who took a bad hit in their round robin game against the Rosetown Redwings and didn't return to the tournament.
Despite the loss, many messages of support for the team began showing up across social media extolling the successes of their season, including league and provincial championships. Lessons learned during the season and the tournament will surely do nothing but help the team as they prepare to host the 111th Allan Cup tournament in 2019.