The host Lacombe Generals pulled away late in the third period to earn a 5-2 victory over the Innisfail Eagles on Saturday night and win the Allan Cup, Canada’s National Senior Championship, for the fourth time in 11 years.
The Generals also won the national title in 2009, 2013 and 2016, all as the Bentley Generals. They also reached the championship game in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017 and 2018.
“We were making spaces for the host banner, and I said that I hoped we would have to make an extra space,” said Jeff McInnis, general manager of the Generals. “It’s pretty incredible to win it on home ice in our own rink, our own home, our own dressing room. It was impressive how hard it was to beat Innisfail, they’ve come a long way and they were fantastic.”
Justin Cox opened the scoring for Innisfail eight minutes into the first period, but Chase Norrish got the Generals even late in the opening frame. After Jesse Todd and Dylan Nowakowski scored two minutes apart to give Lacombe a 3-1 lead early in the second, Cox netted his second in the final minute to make it a one-goal game after 40 minutes.
The Eagles pushed for the tying goal in the third period, but Todd and Cody Cartier scored into the empty net in the final minute to clinch the national championship for the tournament hosts.
“To win at home like this, in front of our family and friends and to be able to celebrate and share, it’s just an awesome experience for Lacombe,” said Generals captain Brennan Evans. “It almost makes getting second place two years in a row worth it.”
Saturday’s game marked the first all-Alberta final in the 111-year history of the championship, and the first time two teams from the same province faced off for the top prize since the Thunder Bay Twins and Barrie Flyers met in 1975.
The Allan Cup is one of the oldest club-team hockey competitions in North America, having been first competed for in 1908.