Chad Vizzutti watches helplessly as Travis Brigley slides the puck past him on Thursday night. Photo – Ron Gallo
By Jon Zacks
The Bentley Generals played a sound defensive game, and continued their charge towards the final, as they dispatched the Powell River Regals on Thursday night.
The Regals were able to play with Bentley for the first half of the game, but a flurry of goals late in the second gave the Generals a comfortable lead – one they would not surrender.
The lone goal of the first period came on a Generals powerplay, as Curtis Austring banged a rebound past Chad Vizzutti, the only blemish in the period for Vizzutti, who made 14 saves in the first period, and 38 in the game.
The Generals continued to press in the second, and finally broke the dam late in the frame. At the 15:49 mark, Kevin Smyth fired sharp-angle shot underneath Vizzutti, setting off a frantic minute of hockey. Within 53 seconds of Smyth’s goal, Tyler Haarstad scored for Bentley, Tyler Leibel responded for Powell River, and Sean Robertson added another for the Generals, leaving breathless fans looking at a 4-1 Bentley lead.
Early in the third period, Travis Brigley added all the insurance the Generals would need, when he tapped in a sensational set-up from Darren Van Impe, and the Generals would run down the clock, for a 5-1 victory.
"We’re cycling the puck, we’re keeping the puck down low, we’re using our strengths to our advantage" said Generals player-of-the-game Brandon Cote after the game. "As long as we keep doing that we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win."
The Swift Current native admits he’s new to the Flyers / Generals rivalry, after only finishing his pro career last season, but also concedes his team is excited for the prospect of a Fort St. John vs. Bentley final. "Oh definitely" he said, "I know it’s a bitter rivalry between the two teams, and it would be great to have both of us in the final, and have another shot to get back at them."
Four solid teams now remain standing in the Allan Cup tournament, with the Generals to take on the Dundas Real McCoys on Friday at 2 p.m., before the host Flyers take on the South East Prairie Thunder at 8 p.m.
The Generals win meant the end of the tournament for the Regals, and their goaltender Chad Vizzutti. The three-time Allan Cup winner spoke to Moose FM’s Matt Sales after the game, and began by conceding the Generals fully deserved Thursday’s win.
Click here to listen to a highlights package from Thursday’s game:
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