Make it five straight wins for the Home Hardware Midget AAA Legionnaires, after they emerged with a 4-2 win over the Moose Jaw on the road Thursday night.
(Photos courtesy Marc Smith)
It was also the second straight game with a 4-2 score line after a win over the Notre Dame Argos on Tuesday. For the second straight game as well, the Legionnaires didn't take long to find their rhythm.
Tuesday's game saw forward Ty Muench score 22 seconds into the game - on Thursday it only took 17 seconds. Hunter Lamb buried his first of the game on assists from Jacob Piller and Reed Jacobson.
Swift would take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission after Jerzy Orchard stretched the lead on an assist from Dylan Hull just past the midway mark of the opening period.
Lamb would widen the gap between Swift and Moose Jaw in the second, making it 3-0 on another quick goal, this time 44 seconds into the period. Piller and Jacobson found themselves with assists once again on a connection that was clicking during the game.
"Well it feels pretty good - it's easy to play with those two," said Lamb. "We have pretty good chemistry going right now, and yeah - I love playing with them."
However, the Generals would finally solve goalie Cody Levesque after over 28 minutes of scoreless play. Moose Jaw forward Casey McDonald put the puck past Levesque to make it a 3-1 game through 40 minutes.
That score would carry through to the game's final five minutes, until Owen Ozar and Rin Beny feeds allowed Muench to score for Swift to put the game out of reach with 4:18 left to play.
Moose Jaw's final goal came on the power play with just 11 seconds left to play, a non-factor for the Legionnaires. Levesque ended the game stopping 29 of 31 Generals' shots.
The fifth-place Legionnaires continue to keep pace in the Sask Midget AAA Hockey League during their five-game winning streak, which was sparked in a 7-5 win over the Notre Dame Argos on December 12.
However, with all five of those games coming against teams in the bottom four of the 12-team league, the schedule shifts to a much tougher four-game stretch on the horizon.
The Legionnaires host the second-place Regina Pat Canadians on Sunday, before two-straight the following weekend against the fourth-place Tisdale Trojans, and another contest against the Pat Canadians after that.
"We kind of talked about that tonight, that we're heading into a really important part of our schedule here after Christmas," said Legionnaires head coach Darren Evjen. "Our guys know that, and we're going to have to play our best hockey and collect points if we want to move up the standings."
"It's a good test for us, and that's what you want to do after Christmas - you want to play good, and you want to play good teams because that will make you better."
As for the first game of that stretch, the Legionnaires (18-9-0-3) welcome the Mac's Midget AAA Tournament-winning Pat Canadians (25-4-2-1) to the Innovation Credit Union iPlex Sunday night.
"I think the biggest thing about them is they've had a winning tradition for so long.," Evjen noted. "Their guys just stay with their game - I don't think they do anything fancy, and out of the ordinary. Their players just buy in and play steady for 60 minutes. It's going to take a 60-minute effort out of every player in our room to get that win."
After a Thursday performance that Evjen felt had strong first and third periods, he discussed what changes or areas may see the most focus in practice or watching film.
"One this is just being hard on the puck, whether it's chipping the puck or getting it deep and getting onto our forecheck, and reading the situations - those are real important," he said. "And, making good puck plays where it's on the tape and we're not chasing. That's real key going into Sunday's game."
The Legionnaires and Pat Canadians face off at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night in Swift Current.