Two power play goals were the difference as the Cochrane Generals took down the Strathmore Wheatland Kings by a score of 4-2 at the Strathmore Family Centre Arena in Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL) action on Nov. 17.
Cochrane, who has won five of their last six games dating back to Oct. 20, was a bit slow out of the starting gate and only registered six shots on goal compared to Strathmore's 12. Cochrane relied on goaltender Jordan Lott to make some key saves in order to keep the game scoreless after the first period.
Defenceman Justin Berube also received a game misconduct four minutes into the game for a checking from behind penalty that slowed the team down in their attack. The Generals finally found their legs early in the second when they had an early period power play and capitalized off a goal from Jordan Fisher with Taylor Girard and Jordan Marks assisting on the tally. The power play unit would strike once more as Girard would be the beneficiary of a nice passing play from Dean Olenyk and Brandon Aab before finding the stick of Girard to make it 2-0 heading into the third period.
In the final frame, Strathmore got an early goal to cut the lead to 2-1 but the Generals would not be denied, getting consecutive goals from Ryan Davis and Dean Olenyk to go up 4-1 before the Wheatland Kings rounded out the scoring with a late goal to make the final score 4-2 in favour of the visitors.
Olenyk, Fisher and Girard all finished the game with two points with goaltender Jordan Lott recording his fifth win in six games, stopping 33 of the 35 shots he faced. The team also went 2/4 on the power play while killing off both penalties they got dinged for.
"It was huge," said Generals forward Dean Olenyk on the team's special team advantage in the win. "We need to take advantage of those chances (on the power play) especially against strong teams and we did that last night. We have two strong power play units that are starting to produce a lot of opportunities."
Cochrane has been rather productive since their three game losing streak at the beginning of the season, going 11-2-1 over that span, nearly doubling their opponents in goals with 58 compared to 30 given up in those games.
"I've definitely noticed a difference (since the beginning of the year)," Olenyk said. "The big differences I've noticed were that all lines started to mesh together really well and everyone has started finding ways to put the puck in the net which we were really struggling with at the start. We have also cut back on penalties a lot which has been key to our success."
Olenyk was also quick to point out that strong goaltending was another key to the teams' most recent success.
"Well (Erik) Garber has been a strong goalie in this league for a few years so were very confident that he was going to have another great season and he has lived up to that," the Generals leading scorer said.
"Jordan (Lott) was a great addition coming here at 17-years-old and has shown he can perform extremely well and is putting up great numbers. We are very confident in our goaltending no matter who is in the net in any game."
The Generals will have a pair of tough games on Nov. 23 and 24 when they travel to Red Deer to play the Vipers before once again heading to Strathmore to tangle with the Wheatland Kings. The team will return home on Nov. 30 when they play the High River Flyers.