The Moose Jaw Generals jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first period on Thursday night, which allowed the team to cruise to an easy win, but it also left head coach Ray Wareham wanting to see a more complete game out of his team.
“We had lots of energy in the first period, quick start, but after that we put it into cruise control, which from a coaching standpoint is not always nice to see,” said Wareham. “Frustrated with the second and third period, we didn't manage the puck very well, but it's tough, 5-0 after the first, it's tough to keep them motivated.”
The Generals ended up skating to an easy 7-1 win over the visiting Notre Dame Argos during Thursday night's Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League action at Mosaic Place.
The win has their record at 2-0-0-1 on the year as they prepare for another meeting with the Argos on Saturday at Mosaic Place.
So far this season, the Generals have seen contributions from throughout the lineup, including six different goal scorers on Thursday night with second-year forward Chantz Petruic leading the way, posting two goals and three points.
“Everybody has been good from day one,” said Wareham. “The Manz boys have been competing, Ahmed Ally has been fantastic the last two games, but you can go down the list, Fonstad, Riess, Petruic, it's been good.”
Moose Jaw exploded out of the gates in the first period with goals from Evan Thomas and Petruic in the first five minutes. They added goals from Tyson Manz, Petruic's second and Jeremy Bisson in a span of 1:41 during the final minutes of the opening frame.
Notre Dame found their stride in the second period and generated some solid scoring chances, but goalie Hunter Arps held his ground. The Argos finally broke through 1:33 into the third when Joel Neuenschwander beat Arps, it was the first goal allowed by the Moose Jaw goalie in two starts this season.
That goal seemed to wake up the Generals, who controlled the play for the rest of regulation with Caleb Riess scoring with 3:39 to go and Cole Fonstad adding a shorthanded goal in the final minute.
“We jumped on it quickly, but I didn't like how we died off in the second and third, I felt we should have kept the pace up and added to our lead throughout the game,” said Petruic.
“The Argos came out hard in the second and third, and if they come out like that in the first (on Saturday) and we're flat footed, the score could be the other way around.”
Arps made 22 saves to improve to 2-0 on the year for the Generals, while Moose Jaw threw 37 shots on the Argos' goal with Riley Higdon allowing five goals on 15 shots before Chris Rutledge stopped 20-of-22 shots.
With a rematch between the two teams coming up on Saturday afternoon at Mosaic Place, Wareham expects a much better effort from the Argos in that contest.
“They're not going to be happy and I don't think it's a six-goal differential between the two teams, so we're going to have to be ready to go,” said Wareham.
Puck drops at 1:30pm on Saturday.