Normally, if a team sparks three breakaways, a half-dozen two-on-ones and heaven knows how many other odd-man rushes, things are going to look good on the scoreboard on the end of the day.
But these are the Moose Jaw Generals we're talking about, and the way things are going for the local Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League team this season, that kind of performance apparently isn't nearly enough.
The Generals carried the play five-on-five and generated scoring chances galore against the Prince Albert Mintos but were rewarded with a 6-0 loss Sunday, Dec. 9 at Mosaic Place. That came on the heels of a 4-1 defeat to the Yorkton Maulers the previous night, leaving the Generals with a 7-16-2-1 record and in 10th place in the 12 team league, nine points out of a playoff spot.
“It's very frustrating,” Generals head coach Ray Wareham said. “I can't imagine what the kids feel like, but for the most part they're keeping their heads up... but when you get two-on-ones and breakaways and you don't get anything over and over again, that's really tough. It just that nothing is going for us.”
It's not for a lack of effort, either. Wareham admits that he and his coaching staff have pretty much drained the playbook trying to find positive results.
“We've tried everything, I mean absolutely everything,” he said. “I've personally never been through anything like this, as a player or a coach, how things just won't turn out for us. I've tried pushing buttons, we've asked the guys to do different things, but nothing works. They seem happy and are trying to stay upbeat, but it's just not translating on the ice.”
That certainly was the case on Dec. 9, where the Generals actually outshot Prince Albert 30-29 but gave up four power play goals despite that advantage.
Gabe Klassen had a hat trick for the Mintos; Chase Bertholet picked up five assists.
“It seems like every little mistake we make ends up in the net,” Wareham said. “Then we get a break and can't get anything... you look at today, our penalty kill, which has been good lately, let us down. But we had just as many chances five-on-five and couldn't get anything to show for it.”
The Generals' Jaxson Taupert made 23 saves in the loss, Spencer Welke stopped 30 shots for the shutout.
Against the Maulers, Moose Jaw finished the game with a 36-26 advantage on the shot clock but only managed a second-period goal from Ben Wourms-Rowe. Reece Hodson had 22 saves in goal for the Generals.
As tough as things have gone for the local squad, Wareham remains optimistic that a sudden turn could be on the way – especially if his charges keep working toward the future.
“I just told the guys, the thing you have to do is just try and continue to get better each day,” Wareham said. “You can't worry so much about wins and losses right now, you just have to focus on getting better each day and the ultimate goal is to play junior. It's our job to get you there, no one likes losing, but as long as you keep improving and give yourself the best chance to move on next year, that should be their focus. And if they do that hopefully the wins will start coming.”
The Generals are back in action on Saturday, Dec. 15 when they travel to Swift Current before hosting the Beardy's Blackhawks on Sunday, Dec. 16 (1:30 p.m., Mosaic Place).