The second day of the 2019 Allan Cup —the 111th Allan Cup tournament — got started with a matchup between the 2018 Champion Stoney Creek Generals and the Innisfail Eagles, who came into the game after dropping Game 1 4-3 to the Rosetown Red Wings.
The first period was a back and forth affair, with neither team hitting the gas pedal until half way through the frame.
The Generals managed to score first with Cam Fergus beating Innisfail netminder Kraymer Barnstable to put the returning champs up one.
“It has been a couple weeks since we have been in a game that has been that intense,” Fergus said. “In the first period it was one of those games where it was tough to get going, so it is one of those things where you have to go out there and be involved to get going.”
The Eagles would battle through the Generals offensive pressure to eventually break out, leading to a Shawn Bates goal that tied the game 1-1 heading into the second period.
The second period was an affair that could have went either way.
With both teams getting chances on both ends, the period would ultimately be decided by a Innisfail penalty that led to a powerplay goal for Fergus — his second goal of the game.
Both teams were looking to clean things up after the teams combined for 18 minutes of penalties in the second — 10 for Innisfail and eight for Stoney Creek.
The third period would see emotions boil over, ending with both terms having extensive words with one-another on the way to the locker room.
“It was a couple questionable hits on either side and a couple questionable calls. Guys get ramped up and guys come to this tournament to win. Every game is so important in this tournament style,” Fergus said. “It didn’t take long for some emotion to build up, which is great.”
The Eagles had plenty of chances to tie the game at two, but a late Generals goal by Nathan Pageau — followed by a buzzer-beating empty-netter — ultimately resulted in the final 4-1 decision for Stoney Creek.
“It was a close game the whole game,” Eagles Coach Brian Sutter said. “It was a 2-1 hockey game and that is the way it goes. We had so many chances in third period to score empty-net goals and didn’t get them.”
Barnstable finished with 27 saves on the night, while Generals netminder Ryan DeMelo finished with 35 for the win.
“Our goaltender made some big saves and bailed us out,” Fergus said.
The Generals will go on to play their second game of the tournament Wednesday against Rosetown, while the Eagles will have a rest day before the playoff round begins Thursday.
“You build off of every game. You want to get better as the tournament goes on and keep pushing the pace out there,’ Fergus said.
The Eagles will finish last in their pool, meaning they will have to win three games in three days to potentially take home the Allan Cup.
Sutter said they need to bring the same intensity Thursday they did tonight.
“If we play as hard and with the desperation we played with tonight, we would have won the game last night by five goals,” Sutter said.