- Created: 01 March 2016
The Generals wrapped up the regular season home schedule this past weekend and now prepare for one final roadtrip before the postseason begins in the Northwest.
Friday, February 26th: Generals - 1, Wolves - 3
With only four games remaining in the regular season, all against the first place Wenatchee Wolves, the Generals faced a stiff test heading into this past weekend as they prepared to hopefully round into playoff form.
For the third time in as many meetings in Eugene this season, the Generals struck first on the scoreboard and took a 1-0 lead vs. the Wolves as Cole Bloemer followed up a two-on-one opportunity and pounced on a juicy rebound in the slot to open the scoring.
That 1-0 advantage would hold through 20 mintues as goaltender Zealand Walterscheid stopped all 15 shots faced in the first period, but the Wolves high-powered offense would break through after seven minutes in the second period as Richie Stickle would finish off a give-and-go with a beautiful wrist shot to level the score at 1-1.
Walterscheid was able to keep the young Wolverines at bay through the second period as the score remained tied at 1-1 after forty minutes, but the Wolves took their first lead of the game less than four minutes into the third period as go-to scorer Hunter Alden, who started the season with the BCHL's Wenatchee Wild, gave the Wolves the lead as he dropped to one knee and snuck the puck past a diving Walterscheid in net.
Two mintues later, Coleton Booth would tap home the Wolves' third and final goal of the evening as Wenatchee would pick up a come-from-behind 3-1 win over the Generals in the series opener despite a stellar 54-save performance from Walterscheid in net.
Saturday, February 27th: Generals - 2, Wolves - 6
After Friday night's frutrating and penalty-filled loss, the Generals looked to bounce back and earn a series split as they once again faced off against the Wolves.
For the first time in Eugene this season, the Wolves scored first and took the early 1-0 lead with less than 120 seconds off of the clock as captain Griffin Wiencek tapped home a lose rebound in front of the net after Generals goaltender Christopher Pritchard made the inital save off of a three-on-two opportunity.
Just over two minutes later, the Wolves doubled their advantage as Raymond Fleming would rip a slapshot past Pritchard, and it would then move to 3-0 late in the period as Hayden Givens would find some room in the slot and rifle a wrist shot top-shelf to put the Wolverines up by a field goal after twenty minutes of play.
The Wolves kept rolling right out of the gates in the second period as they would extend their lead to 4-0 after Tom Ignatovich ripped home a slapsotof his own, but the Generals would get a goal back after a beautifully executed two-on-one that was capped off by a stellar one-time finish by Eugene native Jack Thornton, just his third goal of the season but perhaps one of the best the Generals have scored in the 2015-16 campaign.
However, the Wolves would later regain their four-goal cusihon as Jonathan Banovetz would rip one from the near point and sneak it just past Pritch, pushing their lead to 5-1 with jus twenty minutes to go.
Wenatchee would tack on another to make it a 6-1 game in the third period as Will Connors would drop to one knee just like Alden the night before and finish beautifully, but Cole Bloemer would add a consolation goal for the Generals, and a beautiful goal at that, as the Alaskan finished nicely past Wolves goaltender Max Flynn on a short-handed breakaway to cap off the scoring for the evening.
In net, Pritchard finished the night with 53 saves as the Wolves completed the two-game weekend sweep of the Generals, their first ever sweep of the Generals in Eugene.
Coach Kern's Three Stars of the Week
First Star: Cole Bloemer
Second Star: Zealand Walterscheid
Third Star: Joe Thornton
Once again, every team in the Northwest was in action this past weekend as the regular season rapidly wraps up in the NPHL.
On Friday, the Tri-City Outlaws hosted the Seattle Ravens to kick off a two-game home-and-home series, and the fans in attendance were treated to a nonstop goal-fest in Kennewick. It took seven minutes for the scoring to start when Seattle's Johnny Scherer silenced the Outlaws faithful and give the visitors the early 1-0 lead, and that opened up the flood gates in a game that would see a total of 16 (!!) goals scored.
The Ravens carried a 3-2 lead into the first intermission, and after the two teams traded goals early in the second period, the Outlaws turned on the jets and never looked back as they lit the goal lamp seven times in the second period to take a commanding 9-4 lead.
Seattle would tack on two goals in the final period and the Outlaws would add one more to cap off a crazy 10-6 win for the Outlaws.
After the offensive explosion on Friday night, both sides made the reutrn trip to Kent, Washington on Saturday to wrap up the two-game series on the Ravens' home ice.
The Outlaws offense picked up right where they left off as they opened the scoring just 89 seconds into the game, and they would never trail after that moment. Team-leading scorer Aaron Questad would score twice and Jimmy Grosklaus would stop 26 shots in net as the Outlaws finished off the sweep with a 6-2 win, their third consecutive weekend sweep and sixth win in a row overall.
Meanwhile, the Bellingham Blazers and West Sound Warriors held off their own home-and-home series this past weekend, with the two sides playing in Bellingham on Friday before wrapping up the series on Saturday in Bremerton.
The Blazers flexed their offensive muscles on Friday as they scored early and often, taking a 4-0 lead into the first intermission thanks in part to two goals by Reese Fegen. Mark Collins's squad would score another five goals in the second period to take a commanding 9-0 lead, and they would score three more in the final twenty minutes to finsih off a commanding 12-0 win over their old rivals.
Reese Fegen finish with a hat trick on the evening as Warriors goaltender Austin McCain tallied an eye-popping 65 saves in the lopsided loss.
On Saturday's rematch in Bremerton, the Warriors played like a brand new team as they surprisingly held the Blazers offense at bay through the first twenty minutes. However, Bellingham would break through for the opening goal early in the second period as Von Mullin would open the scoring with his sixth goal of the season.
With seven minutes left in the period, Simeon Smith would double the Blazers lead as they would carry a 2-0 lead into the final period of play, and Sean Meetsma would later finish the scoring in the third period as he scored the Blazers third and final goal of the night to wrap up a the shutout win and the two-game sweep over the Warriors.
Lastly, Sunday's lone NPHL game featured the Wenatchee Wolves playing host to the Seattle Ravens, and it quickly proved to be no contenst.
The Ravens' 2016 struggles continued as Hayden Givens' hat trick and Hunter Alden's four assist night helped pace the Wovlerines to a commanding 12-0 win in the NPHL's weekend finale.
Cascade Cup Playoff Picture
With only one week left of NPHL regular season action, the potential playoff matchups are now officially locked in as the postseason approaches in the Northwest.
In a matchup that had long been expected, it is now official that the Generals and Blazers will meet in the first round of the upcoming Cascade Cup Playoffs. On the other side of the bracket, the only question that had remained was figuring out who Wenatchee would host in their first round matchup. After a third consecutive four-point weekend for the Outlaws, they have cruised into the fourth and final playoff spot and thus have secured a first round date with the Wolves.
Extra Ref Sighted on Saturday
Things took an interesting turn before the third period on Saturday as the NPHL's referee crew was surprised by an unknown, uninvited fourth crewmember that attempted to join them on the ice for the final twenty minutes.
The mystery referee was quickly revealed to be Jason Falls, a Generals billet and an active member of The Rink Exchange's adult hockey community. Falls, who kept his plans to hit the ice close to the vest, was showered with cheers from the stands but received mixed reviews from the referee crew on the ice.
After a quick discussion, it was deemed that Falls' referee services were not needed, and he was kindly asked to depart the ice.
Fan Appreciation Night Recap
For the eleventh consecutive season, the Generals wrapped up their regular season home schedule by celebrating the most important people in our #GensFam... the fans! The team's 11th Annual Fan Appreciation Night served as a celebration of the best hockey fans in the Northwest as the evening was filled with events, games, giveaways, autographs, and a postgame skate with Generals players.
As always, it was a special evening for everyone involved as new and familiar faces packed The Rink Exchange for one of the season's biggest (and rowdiest) crowds, and both fans and players left with memories that will last a lifetime.
Find a full photo album from the Eugene Generals' 11th Annual Fan Appreciation Night on the Eugene Generals' Facebook.
Generals Alums Face Off At ACHA Regionals
AND THE AGGIES WIN. Game winning goal scored by Alex Herman assisted by Gary Higgs. The Aggies will take on UNLV tomorrow at 1 pm.Posted by Utah State Hockey Club on Saturday, February 27, 2016
The following day, Videto and Utah State faced off against the UNLV Rebels with the final spot to the ACHA DII National Tournament on the line. After the nail-biter vs. San Jose State the night before, Sunday's matchup proved to be a breeze as the Aggies coasted to a 4-1 win behind yet another goal by Videto, who finished with a team-high three points during the regional tournament.
The Aggies now head to West Chester, Pennsylvania for the ACHA Division II National Tournament where they will first be playing against Grand Valley State, New York University, and Penn State. You can follow Utah State's run at the ACHA Division II National Tournament on Pointstreak.
Playoff Tickets On Sale Now
The Eugene Generals are headed back to the postseason for the tenth time in eleven seasons.
After missing postseason play last year for the first time in franchise history, the Generals re-tooled under Head Coach Justin Kern and now are preparing for a run towards the Cascade Cup. To find out more about how the Generals were able to re-define the culture in Eugene, check out the latest story from the NPHL on NPHLonline.com.
As for the postseason, here is the Generals' potential playoff dates/times for the first round:
Game 1: Friday, March 11th @ BEL @ 7:35pm
Game 2: Saturday, March 12th @ BEL @ 7:35pm
Game 3: Friday, March 18th @ EUG @ 7:35pm - BUY TICKETS
Game 4: Saturday, March 19th @ EUG @ 7:35pm (if necessary) - BUY TICKETS
Game 5: Sunday, Match 20th @ BEL @ TBA (if necessary)