Generals-Mintos-Jan26-7Moose Jaw's Riley Cannon attempts to jam in a wraparound on Prince Albert goalie Lane Michasiw on Sunday.

It's going to be playoff type hockey from here on out for the Moose Jaw Generals and they answered their first challenge on Sunday afternoon against the Prince Albert Mintos.

After a sluggish start, the Generals built momentum throughout the game on their way to a 2-1 win over the visiting Mintos with the game-winning goal coming from Jared Legien in the third period.

“Very proud of the kids today, just a gutsy effort,” said head coach Ray Wareham after the win.

Coming off an 8-2 win over the Beardy's Blackhawks on Saturday, the Generals knew they were in for a battle against the third place Mintos as they trailed them by just four points in the standings coming into the game.  Moose Jaw got what they wanted.

“We haven't played this kind of game here, we've been playing those bottom half teams where the intensity might not be there,” stated Wareham.  “Every little mistake is magnified in these games and the one thing that we didn't want to have happen was them out work us, and I felt we matched them.”

Despite falling down 1-0 early in the second period, the Generals never seemed to start pressing and just continued to stick to their game plan, which included a very effective fore check.

“It's playoff-style hockey and we've just got to battle minute-by-minute,” said Legien after scoring his ninth of the season to win the game in the third period.

The Generals had to deal with some adversity before the game even started with opening face-off delayed an hour due to travel conditions for the Mintos.  Wareham didn't feel that gave either team an advantage and both teams found their legs during the first period.

“As the game went on, you saw the PA Mintos and the Moose Jaw Generals, who are pretty similar clubs, in my opinion, they play the same way, and the game got better and better as it went on,” said Wareham.

Moose Jaw had some more adversity early in the game when one of their leading scorers, Rykr Cole, was ejected from the game for a checking behind penalty at the end of the first period, but the team rallied after that despite giving up the opening goal on the ensuing power play to Prince Albert's Keegan Kjargaard.

“You lose a guy that's been real good for you the last couple weeks and some other guys had to step up and play some bigger minutes,” said Wareham.  “I thought it was just a real solid effort from all the guys in our lineup.”

The evidence of that effort can be found in the Generals two goal scorers with Riley Cannon getting Moose Jaw's first goal on the power play late in the second period and Legien potting the winner midway through the third period.

“I challenged Jared at the start of the year with his work ethic and in fairness to him, he's really come on here in the last little while and picked it up,” said Wareham on his rookie forward.

Legien has been taking on a bigger role since Christmas and has been playing on a line with Cole and Donovan Neuls.  He said he's trying to take advantage of the opportunity in front of him.

“It feels good to be able to step up and help the boys win the game,” Legien said.  “The boys have all been working hard lately and it just felt good to be able to put it in the net.”

Getting the win was big for the Generals when you look at their upcoming schedule as they'll play their next five games against teams ahead of them in the standings.  They'll play the first place Notre Dame Argos and the second place Beardy's Blackhawks twice each, as well as another meeting with the Mintos, who are just two points up on Moose Jaw for third place.

“Our next five games are crucial and we talked about having an opportunity to catch these guys still,” added Wareham.  “It's a tough stretch, but that's the kind of hockey that you want to be playing heading down the stretch.”

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