The Cochrane Generals are on the wrong end of some unlucky bounces. In a pair of games against the Heritage Junior Hockey League's (HJHL), North Division's Red Deer Vipers and Mountainview Colts on Sept. 27 and 28, the Generals outshot the opposition by 84-64, yet fell by scores of 2-1 and 3-2.
In the team's third home game of the season, the goaltenders stood tall and forced a defensive stand-still. There was no scoring in the first or second period with teams trading chances, but were kicked aside by the Vipers' goaltender and Generals' goaltender Erik Garber. In the third period, Red Deer finally broke the game open with a goal just 25 seconds in, which was followed by another goal eight minutes later to push the Vipers to a 2-0 lead. The Generals found their footing and pushed back with 20 shots in the period. They were only able to find the back of the net once with 13 seconds remaining. Ryan Davis put Cochrane on the board with their lone goal of the contest.
The Generals didn't have much time to fret about the loss as they hit the road for their first away game of the season in Didsbury against the Mountainview Colts. The Colts got on the board early with a goal less than five minutes into the game. The goal stood up until the midway point of the second period when Taylor Girard scored his first goal of the season to knot it at one apiece. In the third period, the Colts scored twice within a three minute span to go up 3-1 including a power play goal with Sam Davidson closing out the scoring with a shorthanded goal to give the game its final score of 3-2.
Rookie forward Shane Benoit said the results aren't what the team anticipated, but should start reeling off wins once they figure out some minor details.
"Obviously not the results we wanted, every game we play we want to come out with the win, but this weekend we just weren't getting the bounces," he said. "We are outplaying these teams and it's only one goal games so as soon as we can tighten up our defensive zone play, and start putting the pucks in the net, there isn't a team that can stop us."
The Generals currently sit at 1-3 this season. After an opening night win over Airdrie, Cochrane have now dropped three straight to Coaldale, Red Deer and Mountainview.
"Our record doesn't really show how competitive this team is," Benoit said. "The goals against us are small mistakes and it's early in the season so those mistakes will get fixed fast. I think this slow start is going to motivate us, you see so many great teams that start slow and then once things start rolling they don't stop. So as long as we keep putting in the work the rest will come."
Benoit is in his first year with the Generals after spending the last few years of his hockey career in Timmins, Ontario. He said he's adjusting to playing in a different league.
"I think the biggest thing is just getting used to playing with a new team in a new league. We are still figuring out roles for everyone so I think I need to make the most out of every opportunity I get and battle on the ice to bring some energy into the lineup," he said.
"I definitely need to improve on the defensive side of the puck, it's a lot easier to play hockey when you're attacking so if I can help minimize the opponent's time in our zone, it'll make the game easier for everyone else. The sky's the limit for this group, up and down the lineup there are no weaknesses."
The Generals will look to get themselves back into the win column when they have a home-and-home with the High River Flyers, who are 0-4 on the season.
"The big thing is getting the lead and going up first," said Benoit. "We are a better team when we're applying pressure, so it's big for us to dominate those 10 minutes and take advantage of our chances."
Cochrane will play in High River on Friday and at home on Saturday. Puck drop will be at 7:30 p.m.