The second half of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League season started out strong for the Moose Jaw Generals.

The second place squad kicked off the stretch drive to the playoffs with a pair of wins this past weekend, beating the Prince Albert Mintos 5-2 on Saturday and then holding on for a 3-2 win over the Beardy’s Blackhawks on Sunday.

“It was a strong start to the second half, especially with how we ended at the Mac’s and how we went into that tournament over the last month or so, we hadn’t been playing very good, so I thought we were real good on Saturday against PA and started playing the right way,” said head coach Ray Wareham.

The Generals (25-5-0-1) opened the second half sitting in second place, three points back of the Regina Pat Canadians, who will be at Mosaic Place coming up on Thursday night for the final meeting of the regular season between the league’s top two teams.

Picking up a pair of wins on the weekend and building some momentum going into that match-up was key for the Generals, but just getting back to playing their team game was even more important.

“We used the week when we got back (from the Mac’s) to just go back to the basics and start from scratch and just re-introduce all our systems into them and they started to play within what we’re trying to get them to do, and when they do that and they play together, they’re a pretty tough team to beat,” said Wareham.

Saturday’s game saw the Generals and Mintos sit tied at 1-1 after the first period, but Moose Jaw exploded with goals from Austen Flaman and Kyler Douglas in the first 3:47 of the second.

Ahmed Ally scored a power play goal just past the midway point of the frame to extend Moose Jaw’s lead to 4-1. The Mintos cut that lead down to two going into the third, but the Generals shut the door in the final frame and Brendan Kemp scored into an empty net to seal the win.

Moose Jaw carried that strong play over into Sunday’s game in Beardy’s as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals from Reece Newkirk, Joey Prebushewski and Dylan Jones in the first period.

The Generals let off the gas a bit over the final 40 minutes, but still held on for the win.

After going 1-3 at the Mac’s Tournament, Wareham said he feels like the team has turned a corner and he hopes they can carry that over moving forward.

“They realize that if you want to beat those good teams, they’re consistent and we’re going to have to be consistent if we want a chance,” said Wareham. “Four out of the six periods were pretty good this weekend, but we’ve still got work to do.”

The Generals and Pat Canadians meet for their big showdown on Thursday night at Mosaic Place. Puck drops at 7 p.m.

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