The 2019 Allan Cup began with a round-robin game between the western rivals of the Rosetown Red Wings and the Innisfail Eagles.
The Red Wings would use the powerplay to their advantage throughout the game, ultimately leading to a 4-3 decision in Game 1.
“They are a good team. They play hard and to get a win against them right off the bat is a nice start to the week,” Red Wings Captain Jordan Johnston said.
The Wings came into the tournament as the Saskatchewan Provincial Champions, while the Eagles were soaring high after earning their berth in the tournament after a seven-game series with the Stoney Plain Eagles.
“We knew we would have to play a full 60. We knew some bounces would go our way and it is just a matter of battling it out and coming out on top,” Johnston said.
The first period saw the Eagles swooping in for the kill early, but it would be the Wings who would draw first blood — capitalizing on their first shot by Jeremy Boyer five minutes into the game.
The Eagles would finally be able to build on their significant shot advantage when a powerplay shot from the point by Chris Bailer tied the game at one a piece.
It would, however, be the Red Wings who would come out on top after a late Eagles penalty led to a goal by Red Wing Justin Fox with just 28 seconds remaining in the first period. Rosetown would carry that lead into the second frame.
The second would see end-to-end action, but the game would still be clearly undecided with Rosetown maintaining the one goal lead. Brayden Atkinson would open up a brief two-goal lead for Rosetown with five to play in the frame, but the Eagles would quickly answer to keep it a one-goal game after Allan Cup Hockey West co-MVP Shawn Bates scored one minute later.
The Eagles would apply pressure, but timely scoring from Rosetown would be the deciding factor in the third period. Tyler Beechey would tie the game for Innisfail, leading to nearly 10 minutes to fast-paced hockey but a ill-timed Eagles penalty led to Johnston scoring the winning goal of the game.
“The powerplay has been clicking and we have been switching things up lately,” Johnston said. “We are trying new things because our powerplay has been abysmal all year. We have been working different things and it worked tonight.”
Eagles Coach Brian Sutter was upset with some of the calls he saw on the ice.
“They scored three powerplay goals and the penalties we took had nothing to do with what was going on on the ice,” he said. “They are a good offensive team and a lot of the flow of the game came from when they were on the powerplay.
“Our powerplay got nothing an their’s did.”
Brody Hoffman stopped 34 shots for Rosetown, while Allen York stopped 23 for Innisfail.
The Eagles will take on Stoney Creek Tuesday at 4 p.m., with Rosetown getting the bye day before taking on Stoney at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Sutter is excited for his team to shake off the loss.
“We play tomorrow and that’s awesome. I couldn’t think of a better way to do it,” he said. “We know we are better than that.”