The Moose Jaw Generals had spurts on Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to come away with the win in their home opener.
The Generals lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Saskatoon Contacts in Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League action at Mosaic Place.
Saskatoon controlled the opening 20 minutes, but the Generals fought back after that for a strong finish to the game before losing in the shootout.
“The kids responded, they got a bit of a chewing out between the first and second — the shots were 18-4 after one, obviously at home you’re not doing something right,” said Generals coach Kevin Moore. “It was kind of frustrating, we had a great week of practice, but they’re young and we’re looking for consistency.”
The Generals had just two returning players this season, meaning there will be plenty of growing pains throughout the year and even during a game.
“When we work hard we’re a good team, but we’ve got to focus on playing a full sixty minutes, right now we’re playing 20 or 40, but not a full sixty,” said Goalie Ethan Hein after the game.
“Once the guys get use to the league, they’ll definitely start playing more consistently and we’ll start winning a lot more games.”
Fresh off being named to Team Saskatchewan for the 2017 WHL Cup, Hein put together a big game for the Generals, turning away 44 shots in the loss. Moore said that he kept them in the game, especially in the first period as the Contacts applied a ton of pressure and only came away with one goal.
“He gave us a chance to win for sure,” said Moore.
“I was really feeling it,” added Hein. “I like lots of shots, it helps me get in the game more.”
Josh Paulhus opened the scoring for the Contacts with 6:28 left in the first period. Moose Jaw was able to pot the equalizer early in the second period when Cal Caragata scored his second of the season on the power play to tie the game at 1-1.
The score would remain that way through the rest of regulation. Both teams had solid chances during the 3-on-3 overtime period, but neither was able to break through for the game-winner.
Saskatoon scored one goal in the shootout, while Moose Jaw was stopped on their three attempts.
“We only played 20 minutes and in this league, that’s not going to win you a hockey game,” said Moore. “Some of these kids are coming up from bantam where they were the guy and they didn’t have to put in an effort, but here you’ve got to work all the time because all these kids want to go to the next level.”
The Generals are now 2-1-0 on the year. They return to the ice this weekend for a pair of games with the Notre Dame Argos at Mosaic Place on Saturday afternoon and the Notre Dame Hounds in town on Sunday. Puck drop is at 1:30 p.m. for both games.