- Created: 16 February 2015
Eugene, OR. -The Eugene Generals (13-26-1) had a long weekend with three games in three days, resulting in two losses to the Cheney Icehawks (17-23-1) and a win over the Tri-Cities Outlaws (4-35-0).
In a span of three days, the Generals travelled almost one thousand miles as they initially trekked from Eugene all the way to eastern Washington to play two games against the Icehawks. After the two games against Cheney, the Generals then stopped in Kennewick to play a Sunday night game on the Outlaws’ home ice.
Needing wins over Cheney to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Generals could not come away with wins on Friday and Saturday, losing 6-2 and 5-4, respectively. Thus, the Icehawks clinched the fourth and final playoff spot, leaving the Generals out of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Leaving early for Friday’s game due to a sudden game time change, the Generals travelled over seven hours to Cheney to play a 2:35 matinee. The Generals kept pace with Cheney throughout the game, until the Icehawks pulled away with two third period goals to win 6-2.
In the first period, the Generals tied the game at one when forward Carter Detering scored his first career goal in junior hockey and a Generals uniform. The Harrisburg native lit the lamp 15:16 into the game and had assists from Daniel Gomez and Sheldon O’Neill.
With the Icehawks leading 4-1 going into the third period, Buddy Dale kept the Generals in the game when he tallied an unassisted goal to trim their deficit to two. However, Mason Jones scored twice in the period to not only secure the win for the Icehawks, but also to complete the hat trick.
Having more rest for Saturday night’s contest, the Generals went back and forth with Cheney in a seesaw battle that was decided in the third period. With numerous ties and lead changes, it would be the Icehawks who came out on top with a 5-4 win, ending the playoff hopes for the Generals.
Generals captain Kyle Ruchas recorded his second hat trick of the season, with the first of his three goals coming in the second period to tie the game at one. Following a Generals goal from Dale and an Icehawks score from Derek Griffin, Ruchas broke the 2-2 tie with his second score of the game to regain the lead in the third period. After two Icehawks goals, the three-year veteran tied the game at four apiece when he completed the hat trick with over six minutes left.
Austin Storm scored the eventual game-winning goal for Cheney with five minutes left, his second score of the night. Connor McIntosh and Nick Bryant each had assists on the go-ahead goal.
Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, the Generals responded well by defeating the Outlaws 9-5 on Sunday. Falling behind 2-1 after the first period, the Generals outscored the Outlaws 8-3 the rest of the way to secure the win, with four goals coming in both the second and third periods. The Generals also outshot Tri-Cities by a count of 70-28.
Multiple players had a significant impact during the game, with Dale leading the team in points. Two weeks after recording his first career hat trick, the second-year player set a career-high with seven points. Of those seven points, six of those came on assists.
Forward Jacob Ray had himself a career-game as he achieved something unprecedented. Not only did the rookie score his first career goal in junior hockey, he also added two more goals to score a hat trick. Ray became the second player in franchise history to score his first goal as a General and complete a hat trick in the same game. Eric Watters was the first person to achieve this feat when he did it on September 26, 2008 against Rogue Valley.
Ray was not the only player to record his first career hat trick on Sunday. Rookie Marks Mezsargs also scored three goals, one in each period, for his first hat trick in a Generals uniform. The Latvian native also added an assist and now has eight points in his last four games. The last time two Generals teammates had a hat trick in the same game was January 7, 2014 when Hunter Hartman and Dans Berzanskis scored four and three goals, respectively, versus Vancouver.
Goalie Daniel Spencer had himself a very busy weekend, starting all three weekend games for the Generals. Facing 110 opposing shots, Spencer recorded 94 saves, including 46 during Saturday night’s game at Cheney.
The Generals will close out their tenth season next weekend when they play on the road once again. They will travel to West Sound to face the Warriors on Friday, and then go to Wenatchee on Saturday in their last regular season game. Fans can follow this weekend’s action on Pointstreak or watch on Fast Hockey.
For more information:
Director of Public Relations