It might have been a mismatch on paper, but the Moose Jaw Generals gave the Notre Dame Hounds a good battle on Thursday night at Mosaic Place.
The Generals, who sit in second-last place in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, ended up losing 4-0 to the top ranked Hounds, but they gave them everything that they could handle.
“I felt it was pretty good, we struggled in the first a little with penalties, but overall we had a good performance,” said Generals goalie Ethan Hein after the loss.
Considering their last meeting was a 12-0 victory for the Hounds and Notre Dame has lost just one in regulation this season, the Generals, who now have 24 losses, put together a valiant effort on home ice on Thursday.
Three of the Hounds’ four goals came via the power play and while Moose Jaw to generate a ton of chances, they were able to limit the chances for Notre Dame at 5-on-5 as well.
“5-on-5, it was a 1-0 game, the kids competed hard and worked hard,” said Generals coach Kevin Moore. “We took a couple of undisciplined penalties and you can’t give a team like that those kind of opportunities, that’s a really good team over there.”
The game was tight through the first 10 minutes, but penalty trouble midway through the first cost Moose Jaw. The Hounds opened the scoring on a 5-on-3 power play with a goal from Luke Mylymok just 9:53 into the game.
Only 1:10 later, Stanley Cooper made it 2-0 for the Hounds and then they added a goal a few minutes later for three-goal advantage after one.
The score stayed that way through the second period, but the Hounds went to work on the power play again late in the frame and Drew Englot found the back of the net with 27 seconds remaining in the frame.
Hein was a big part of the score remaining close as he played a calm and collective game between the pipes for the Generals. The 15-year-old netminder turned away 37 shots in the loss.
“He made some big saves for us, it probably could have been worst than 4-0 with some of the chances that they had,” said Moore. “He looks a lot of calmer as the season has progressed and he’s a big kid too, so he fills up a lot of the net, so I think he’s starting to figure it out.”
Hein has split time throughout the season with 17-year-old goalie Jake Davidson. He said he’s been able to learn a lot over the course of the year that will help him moving forward.
“Jake really helps, he’s been here before, he’s got me use to the league and really helped me out that way,” said Hein.
The Generals are hoping to continue progressing and learning over the next few weeks as they close out the regular season.
Moore said he wants the team to use games like Thursday’s against a top team as a learning experience.
“You’re always learning, number one would be discipline, you take undisciplined penalties against a team like that you pay for it,” said Moore. “They’re always learning, they’re working hard and they’re good kids, so it should pay off.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Generals as they will look to snap their 12-game losing skid when they battle the second place Regina Pat Canadians in a home-and-home series. They go on Saturday night in the Queen City and then Sunday afternoon at Mosaic Place.