The Bentley Generals won the 2009 Allan Cup on Saturday, beating the Southeast Prairie Thunder 4-3 in the championship final.
While the Generals had cruised through the preliminary round and semi-finals, their win in Saturday’s final didn’t come easily. Bentley trailed the Prairie Thunder 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2, before Captain Kent Beagle tied the game, when he stole the puck from Nick Fuher, and beat Brent Zelenewich on his short-handed breakaway. The game would go to a 10 minute sudden-death overtime, and then an ice-clean, and then the start of another 20. Finally, in the 76th minute of play, McKenzie Cup MVP Kurt Bensmiller scored the winner, to give their first national championship.
Also leading the way for Bentley was Ryan Manitowich, who scored two goals in the final, to bring his Allan Cup total to 6 points.
Goaltender Cody Rudkowsky was named the first star of the final game, stopping 42 of 45 shots he faced. Rudkowsky had joined the Generals after being named MVP of the Alberta playdowns, in a losing effort, for the Stony Plain Eagles.
After making it all the way to the Allan Cup Final last year, before losing to the host Brantford Blast, the Generals appeared even more prepared this year, despite major changes to the roster. According to Bentley forward Sean Robertson, last year’s loss only made the team hungrier this time around. "It’s something you think about pretty much every night before you go to sleep" said the University of Calgary graduate, during the McKenzie Cup against Fort St. John, adding "It’s something you want so bad you can taste it."
"Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win the last game we played" said Bentley Coach Brian Sutter, after the team qualified for the Allan Cup. "We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but it’s not supposed to be easy" said the former NHL Coach of the Year, who now has a national amateur championship, to add to his long resume.
The Generals will now look to defend their 2009 Allan Cup championship, at the 2010 event, to be held in Fort St. John, BC.
*The overtime goal was officially given to Kurt Bensmiller, but was scored by #23 Diarmud Kelly.