- Created: 03 March 2016
Wenatchee, WA – The Eugene Generals (21-15-1-1) close out the 2015-16 regular season this weekend with a two-game series against the Wenatchee Wolves (37-1-0-0).
Both teams face each other at the Town Toyota Center on Saturday at 4:45 PM and Sunday afternoon at 2:35 PM. Like Eugene, these are also the last Northern Pacific Hockey League (NPHL) regular season games for the Wolves before the playoffs begin next week.
With both teams solidifying their postseason status, the Generals and Wolves look to gain momentum going into the forthcoming playoffs. The Generals have clinched third place and will start out on the road March 11th and 12th in a five-game series against the Bellingham Blazers. In two weeks, the Generals return to Eugene for a game three and, if necessary, game four at home on March 18th and 19th, respectively. Wenatchee has secured home-ice advantage throughout the postseason and will face the Tri-Cities Outlaws in the first round.
The upcoming series is a rematch from last weekend, when the two teams met at the Rink Exchange in Eugene. In their last two regular season home games, the Generals could not come away with wins, losing both contests by scores of 3-1 and 6-2.
On Friday, the Generals jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Cole Bloemer scored in the first period. The Wolves, however, would score the next three goals and take the lead for good in the third period to win 3-1. Zealand Walterscheid allowed just three goals in net for the Generals while recording a career-high 54 saves on 57 shots.
Unlike the previous night, the Wolves would never trail Saturday, scoring the first four goals of the game on their way to a 6-2 win over the Generals. Jack Thornton and Bloemer each scored, while Chris Pritchard stopped 53 shots, his second-most in a game this season.
In their last four games, the Generals have struggled on special teams, namely on the power play. Despite having the second-best power play in the NPHL, the Generals have not scored on their last thirteen power play opportunities. In each of the two games against Wenatchee last week, the Generals went 0-5 on the power play, but did get a shorthanded goal thanks to Bloemer’s breakaway goal in the 6-2 loss on Saturday.
During their current six-game losing streak, the Generals’ offense has been stagnant; Eugene has just eleven goals during the skid, a far cry from their goals per game average of just under four (3.84). In those six games, the Generals have scored more than two goals in a game just once while allowing at least three goals in all six.
Entering the final weekend as the league’s highest-scoring offense, the Wolves are led offensively by some of the NPHL’s top scorers. Fifth in the league in scoring, Hayden Givens leads Wenatchee in points with 53, as well as goals with 29. Not far behind Givens is Griffin Wiencek, who is second on Wenatchee and seventh in the league in scoring with 50 points.
The Wolves have evenly split the playing in time between the two goalies on their roster, Bronson Moore and Max Flynn. Each starting in nineteen games, Moore and Flynn have posted numbers ranking near the top in the NPHL. Moore leads all NPHL goalies in wins (19), shutouts (7), goals against average (0.95), and save percentage (94.9%). Flynn is right behind Moore in wins (18) as well as goals against (1.47 per game).
In the six head-to-head matchups this year, the Wolves have several players who have given the Generals headaches. Will Connors and Hunter Alden each have seven points against Eugene this season, with Alden accumulating that many points in just three games played. Along with these two, Givens and Tom Ignatovich have tallied six points apiece in six games versus the Generals.
With the exception of last Saturday’s game, the Generals have not trailed the Wolves going into the final period this season. In the first five head-to-head matchups, the Generals have either led or been tied with Wenatchee after two periods. Only one of those times has resulted in a win for Eugene and, subsequently, the only loss of the season for the Wolves, back on December 10th.
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