Timely goals and 46 saves from goalie Reece Hodson helped the Moose Jaw Generals stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.
The Generals skated to a 5-2 win over the Saskatoon Contacts at Mosaic Place on Thursday night. The win moves the Generals to eight points back of the Contacts for the final playoff spot in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
"We all knew this was a big game, pretty much do-or-die if we wanted to keep our playoff chances and everyone brought a great effort to the rink tonight, so it was good to see," said Hodson.
Hodson was stellar in the win as he faced double-digit shots in all three periods, but never flinched.
"I felt good out there," said Hodson. "All the guys were doing a good job of clearing pucks and keeping guys out of the front of the net, so it made my job easy."
"He made a lot of good saves, especially on the penalty kill because we were on there for what seemed like forever so he was really good and we need him to be," added Generals head coach Ray Wareham.
In the first of three meetings between the two teams down the stretch of the season, Saskatoon outshot Moose Jaw 48-31, but the Generals went 7-for-7 on the penalty kill and capitalized on any breakdown from the Contacts to pull out the win.
"We looked a little tentative in the first period and then got into some penalty trouble in the second, but found a way," said Wareham. "The penalty kill was fantastic tonight, they did a good job of blocking shots and getting in lanes and then we got some breaks and that's what we've been waiting for.
"We've had breaks in the past and it hasn't gone our way, but we're playing pretty good hockey right now."
Steven Kesslering opened the scoring for the Generals 5:16 into the game when he jammed home a rebound in front. Saskatoon would answer with a goal from Karter McNarland 4:05 later.
Special teams were huge for the Generals in the second period as they picked up a power-play goal from Evan Sare just 3:40 into the frame. Sare would then score a shorthanded marker only 4:47 later to make it 3-1 for Moose Jaw after two.
In the third period, the Generals continue to pounce on any opportunity and Cody Davis scored a pair of goals in the opening 9:05 of the period to move Moose Jaw in front 5-1.
McNarland scored his second of the game midway through the third for Saskatoon, but they wouldn't get any closer.
Wareham said he's proud of the effort from the team in the win.
"We knew that if we want a chance that we've got to win all three against these guys and we took the first step tonight, we need some help but you just go and play," he said. "The pressure is on them to hold the spot, we’ll just go play and see what happens."
The Generals will return to the ice coming on Saturday afternoon when they host the Yorkton Maulers at Mosaic Place. Puck drops at 1:30 p.m.