The Cochrane Generals kick-started 2022 by putting seven goals past the Three Hills Thrashers in an away game Jan. 2, winning by three.
It was the first Junior B Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL) game of the year for the two teams after a two-week holiday break.
"It wasn't our best game," said Generals head coach Kurtis Jones. "It's a game right after Christmas and the break, so we had a little bit of rust, but that's hockey.
"It wasn't pretty but we dug deep as a team and we pulled it off."
Despite missing seven regulars from their lineup and the rest of the team suffering from "turkey legs," as Jones described it, 19-year-old forward Andrew Guss found his stride and pulled off a hat trick, finding the net once in each period.
Forwards Dagan Kadlec, Nic Chauvin, and centres Riley Hopper and Connor Stephenson were also able to net a single goal each, with Hopper also making an assist.
The shot clock read 60-24 in favour of the Gens by the end of the game.
"Their goalie played well," Jones said. "They brought a different game, but again, we also had three call-ups in our lineup and a lot of guys out."
The Gens lineup should be mostly, if not completely, back to normal for their next game Friday (Jan. 7) against the Didsbury Mountainview Colts, who have beat the Gens twice in three games this season, the most of any other team.
"We have a full week of practice ahead of us," said Jones. "But there's always worries there for sure. They're a good hockey team and they know how to score and they know how to play us."
The Generals are currently at the top of the HJHL Junior B north division with an overall winning rate of 79 per cent while the Okotoks Bisons continue to reign over the south, and the league overall, with a win rate of 91 per cent.