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Airdrie hands Cochrane first loss of season

When the Thunder and Generals met in Cochrane on Nov. 21, it was a bad bounce that decided the game. In the rematch, which took place Nov.
The Airdrie Thunder’s Abdo Hamoud (left) and Tannor Kocis (right) celebrate the Thunder’s game winning goal during the team’s 4-3 win over the Cochrane
The Airdrie Thunder’s Abdo Hamoud (left) and Tannor Kocis (right) celebrate the Thunder’s game winning goal during the team’s 4-3 win over the Cochrane Generals at the Ron Ebbesen Arena, Nov. 26.

When the Thunder and Generals met in Cochrane on Nov. 21, it was a bad bounce that decided the game.

In the rematch, which took place Nov. 26 at the Ron Ebbesen Arena in Airdrie, it was a pair of controversial calls that became instrumental as the Thunder won 4-3 and dealt the Generals its first loss of the Heritage Junior Hockey League season.

With 18 seconds remaining in the second period, as the Generals were up 3-0 and on the power play, Thunder defenceman Ryan Russell sent the puck toward netminder Kenny Quinn. It took an odd bounce, rolled down the goalie’s pad and seemed to stop on the goal line.

Play went on and the middle frame wrapped. However, during the intermission, one of the linesmen said he saw the puck wrap around the back of the net – the referee agreed and awarded Airdrie the goal.

After Shaw Pickett brought the Thunder within one, 2:21 into the third, Taylor Crossley stopped a Generals clearing attempt near the blue line at the 13:45 mark and sent the puck towards the net. It beat a surprised Quinn, as he was one of the Cochrane players who were convinced the puck came outside the line and should have been called offside.

It wasn’t. Airdrie took advantage three minutes later, as Crossley added his second of the contest with a game-winning point shot through traffic.

“You just have to step up and take the opportunity,” Crossley said. “I pretty much put my head down and let it go. But we needed to get back at those guys, as they had our number in the last game. If we would have lost this game, it would have made it really hard to win the conference, but instead we tied the series up with them. We needed to get that win.”

“Quinn was very good and it was just a couple of bad bounces tonight,” said Generals’ head coach Dana Boothby. “That’s puck luck and we didn’t have any tonight. We gave that one away, just like Airdrie did the previous game. We had a 3-1 lead and let them off the hook.”

The Generals, now 14W-1L-1T following a 5-5 tie with Ponoka on Nov. 27, outshot the Thunder 46-36. Airdrie (12W-4L) was able to shut down the league’s top line of Danny McSween, Jonny Pictin and Darren Schmautz, but the Generals used its secondary scoring, two by Jason Labelle and one by linemate Mike Matlo, to open the 3-0 lead in the second period.

“All the attention is going after McSween, so those other guys are going to get more room – and we need that,” Boothby said. “To be successful you need to have two (scoring) lines.”

“To be down 3-0 and come back against that team was just an exceptional effort,” said Thunder head coach Darryl Einarson. “It was really important to get back in the win column and it gives us a chance to catch Cochrane now. We play them once more before Christmas, and we have to take care of business with the other teams before that. We’d certainly like to get that top spot and tonight was a good step toward that.”

“This is a big one for us, especially to come back and win at home,” said Thunder captain Cache Doolaege. “We’d lost three in a row, and we were up 5-1 on this team after the first period Sunday (Nov. 21), and lost. We have a big rivalry with Cochrane and seeing them be the last undefeated team in the league didn’t sit well with us. But we started getting some bounces and I think we have our swagger back after this one.”

Airdrie will travel to Three Hills on Dec. 4 and Medicine Hat, Dec. 5.


Airdrie City View Staff

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