- Created: 11 January 2016
With the holiday break in the rear view mirror, the Generals begin the second half of the season hungry for a return to the postseason.
The Generals enter the new year currently on a four-game win streak and with two new weapons added to an already deep arsenal. Defensemen Kenny Griffin and Morgan Neal both have been added to the roster and will quickly look to make an impact as the team prepares to mount a race to catch Bellingham in the standings.
Griffin, the godbrother of current Generals defenseman Logan Sanders, comes to Eugene from Sterling, Alaska and most recently played for Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Previously, Griffin had crossed paths with Generals GM Flint Doungchak at USA Hockey's Pacific District Select Camp and the Western Regional High Performance Camp, both of which Doungchak is heavily involved in as he serves USA Hockey in a number of roles.
Neal joins the Generals having already gotten a taste of what it feels like to don the navy and gold. After participating in the 2015-16 preseason Main Camp, Neal initially opted to stay home. However, after joining the team for a road series vs. the Tri-Cities Outlaws this past November, Neal had a change of heart and opted to re-join the team full-time for the second half of the 2015-16 season. Neal previously played in the Moscow (ID) Bears program along with current Generals forwards Josh Hawn and Sean Peterson.
While Neal will add depth to a squad of defenseman that is fully healthy for the first time this season, Griffin will look to bring versatility to the Generals much in the form of his godbrother, Logan Sanders. Neal will slot in exclusively as a defenseman while Griffin could potentially see time at both defenseman and forward, affording Head Coach Justin Kern plenty of opportunities to shuffle his lineup depending on the matchup.
First Half Highlights
Many memorable moments stick out from this season's first half, but a few in particular resonated with our staff. In no particular order, here's the best moments from this season's first half:
Generals Forward Dustin Gomez Enlists in U.S. Marines
In a one-of-a-kind ceremony during the intermission of December 18th's home game vs. the Seattle Ravens, Gomez accepted his Oath of Enlistment into the Marines with his family, friends, and teammates all present along with hundreds of fans cheering him on.
Win vs. Undefeated Wolves
The Wenatchee Wolves came Eugene on December 10th as the only remaining undefeated Tier III junior hockey team in the entire country. However, thanks to goals from Cody Arbelovsky and Buddy Dale and a stellar effort from Christopher Pritchard in net, the Generals were able to hand the unbeaten Wolves their first loss of the season in a dramatic 2-1 win at The Rink Exchange.
Thriller Music Video
Generals players laced up their boogie shoes skates to promote the First Annual Eugene Generals Blood Drive presented by Lane Blood Center and the Health & Safety Institute. Who knew hockey players could move that well?
Looking towards the second half of the season, the Generals have a total of seventeen games left until the postseason arrives, with nine of those seventeen games being played on home ice at The Rink Exchange.
Most notably, the Generals still have five games left on the schedule vs. the first place Wenatchee Wolves (three home, two away) as well as four games left vs. the second place Bellingham Blazers (two home, two away).
Check the full schedule for the remainder of this season to plan your next date to see the Generals hit the ice!
Outlaws Ride Into Town
For the second time this season (and the first time since October), the Generals will welcome the Tri-Cities Outlaws to the Emerald Valley this weekend for a two-game weekend series at The Rink Exchange. The two teams have already met four times this season (two home, two away) with the Generals notching a 3-1 record over that span. However, the Outlaws lone win vs. the Generals came the last time they faced off in Eugene, and the Outlaws will be carrying a two-game win streak into Eugene after earning a hard-fought sweep over the Seattle Ravens last weekend.
Leading the way for the Outlaws is league-leading goal-scorer Aaron Questad (22 goals, 14 assists, 36 points). Currently in his fourth season with the Outlaws, the four-year NPHL veteran has twice as many goals as his next closest teammate, and his team is 7-7 in games that he scores as opposed to being winless (0-10) in games that he does not score.
For the Generals, perhaps the biggest question heading into the weekend will be the performance of new additions Kenny Griffin and Morgan Neal. As the two newcomers will look to get comfortable with their new teammates, look for the Generals to continue their well-balanced attack that includes ten players that have already tallied double-digit points this season.