South East Prairie Thunder fall short in quest to defend national title
STEINBACH, Man. – It was a familiar match-up for the 2016 Allan Cup as the Bentley Generals faced the host-team South East Prairie Thunder in the final. The Generals, however, were looking to keep the Thunder from defending their national title – and succeeded thanks to an overtime goal by Carter Rigby.
“It’s unbelievable. Everyone wants to be the hero – you dream about it – so to get [the game-winning goal] in a game like this means the world to me,” said Rigby, who struggled to find the back of the net in the week-long tournament, scoring both of his goals in the final.
The Allan Cup, Canada’s National Senior Championship, is one of the oldest club-team hockey competitions in North America, having been first competed for in 1908.
The South East Prairie Thunder threw heavy fire power – including 47 shots-on-goal – in their quest to become the first team to earn back-to-back national championships since 1996. However, the Generals kept pace and came out on top with the 4-3 overtime decision to earn their third national title in eight years.
“We knew to win at this tournament, you probably have to go through South East, and after losing to them last year, you don’t get too many chances for a second chance,” said Bentley head coach Ryan Tobler. “When you lose in the final, you think about it all summer, and everything we went through this year led up until this point and this moment, so I’m really happy for the men.”
The Thunder’s Tyler Dittmer opened up the scoring on a power play in the first period, which was answered by Rigby’s first goal of the game for the Generals. Dittmer scored again less than a minute later, but the teams headed into their respective dressing rooms tied 2-2 after the first period thanks to a late-period goal by Jesse Todd of the Generals.
After a scoreless second period, the Thunder took the lead once again, with Del Cowan scoring less than a minute into the third, only to give up a power-play goal by Bentley’s Ian Schultz that forced the game into overtime.
Bentley Generals goaltender Thomas Heemskerk stopped 44 of 47 shots to record the win, while South East Prairie Thunder netminder Steve Christie recorded 33 saves.