It was a nail-biter from the opening faceoff of Game 1 right up until the final buzzer sounded at the end of Game 7, but what else would one expect between the two titans of the Chinook Hockey League – the Stony Plain Eagles and the Bentley Generals?
It took a power-play goal by Kevin Smyth at 11:59 of the third period to final decide the winner of the grueling best-of-seven Alberta Senior AAA hockey final that will see the Generals moving on to defend their McKenzie Cup championship of last season where they’ll meet more familiar faces in the form of the Fort St. John Flyers with the winner of that series advancing to the Allen Cup.
After a scoreless first period, Tate Locke opened the scoring for the Eagles in Game 7 at the :14 second mark of the middle period on the power-play from Kyle Rossiter and Jeff Drummond.
Bentley responded mid-way through the period on a goal by Sean Robertson from Smyth and Joe Vandermeer to tie the score before Smyth’s dramatic game winner at 8:01 of the third period. Picking up assists on that goal were Diarmuld Kelly and Curtis Austring that propelled the Generals on their next step to the national senior hockey finals which will be played in Steinbach, Manitoba later in April.
The best-of-five series between the Flyers and Generals will begin this Thursday, April 2 with the entire series to be played at the Red Deer Arena.
The winner of that series will advance to the Allen Cup where they’ll join the Lloydminster Border Kings who won the Saskatchewan playoffs, the Southeast Prairie Thunder of the Manitoba league, the Thunder Bay Kings of the northern Ontario, the winner of the Whitby Dunlops/Dundas Real McCoys series and the host Steinbach North Stars.