After a slow start in the first period, the Moose Jaw Generals came out firing in the second period, scoring four times on their way to a 4-1 win over the Swift Current Legionnaires on Thursday night at Mosaic Place.
The win was a solid start to the exhibition schedule for the Generals, who will be back on the ice coming up on Sunday in Swift Current.
"That was pretty good," said second-year defenceman Jeron Kletzel. "Lots of energy, I thought we played a pretty good team game and got going after the first period."
Kletzel led the attack for Moose Jaw with three points in the win, which included scoring a nice backhand goal as part of the Generals’ four-goal outburst to open the second period.
Kletzel said it felt good to open the preseason with a strong performance, "I'm not used to scoring too many goals, but I felt that was good for my confidence," he said. "It's important for me to pick it up a bit offensively."
Swift Current opened the scoring late in the first period on a goal from McGuire Scheidt, but the Generals had outshot the Legionnaires, 14-8, in the period.
Moose Jaw wasted no time going to work to open the second period with Jake Palmer scoring just ten seconds into the period. Kletzel followed that up only 38 seconds later to put the Generals in front 2-1.
They weren't done there with Evan Sare scoring with 4:53 gone in the period and then Ben Peterson banged in a rebound only 2:58 later to make it 4-1 for Moose Jaw.
"We got some energy and came out more ready to play (in the second period)," said Kletzel. "We just got our feet moving and scored some goals."
Speed was key for the Generals in the second period as they beat the Legionnaires in many races for loose pucks to stay on the offensive attack throughout the 20 minutes. Generals coach Kevin Moore said that communication was a big part of the team's success in the period.
"This year we've got 16 guys back, last year we had 18 rookies and they were shy, nervous, whatever the excuse was, so this year, there's no excuse for that, so we're really stressing communication this year and get them feet moving, if you see a loose puck, get moving and go," said Moore.
"I thought they played a lot better after the first period, still a few bad habits, but that's what exhibition for, to clean it up."
The third period saw the Generals lock down defensively to seal the win as they held the Legionnaires to just three shots in the final period. Moose Jaw ended up outshooting Swift Current, 53-17, in the win.
"Our systems were pretty good tonight, we were working hard to keep shots out and block them," said Kletzel. "This game was huge for our confidence, we need to get off to a good start and build from there."
Rookie goalie Reece Hodson made 16 saves for the win between the pipes for Moose Jaw.
The Generals and Legionnaires will meet again on Sunday at the Credit Union Iplex in Swift Current. Moose Jaw opens the regular season on Sept. 22 in Prince Albert.