- Created: 18 December 2016
The Eugene Generals (20-6-1, 41pts) earned the franchise's first ever USPHL Showcase Series win this evening thanks to a 5-2 victory over the Alpena Flyers (13-12-1, 27pts) on the opening night of the 2016 Midwest Showcase.
As in all USPHL Showcase Series events, every Midwest Showcase game includes two 25-minute periods with a five minute overtime then a three-man shootout to follow if still tied.
After an even first half of the first period, Generals forward Frazier Mohler opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the season, a top shelf finish after forward Tristian Bulot forced an Alpena turnover and promptly passed the puck right on the tape to Mohler.
The Phoenix, Arizona native's goal would be the only tally of the first 25 minutes as the Generals would carry a 1-0 lead into the only intermission.
After a physical and defensive first period, the second started at the other end of the spectrum as Brett Sparks scored just 60 seconds into the period to double the Generals' lead, the defenseman's ninth goal over the past five games. Just 73 seconds later, forward Jack Thornton scored his fourth goal of the season on a slapshot from just inside the blue line to put the Generals up by a 3-0 margin.
However, Alpena would be heard from just over two minutes later as Finley O'Shea would cut the Generals lead back to two goals, and Connor Green would follow ten minutes later with his first goal as a Flyer to cut the Generals' lead to 3-2.
With tensions and physical play picking back up in the waning minutes of the third period, Jack Thornton scored his second goal of the evening, a backhanded finish that found the top shelf of the Alpena net to regain a two-goal advantage for the Generals. With just 60 seconds remaining, captain Logan Sanders capped off the scoring with his 13th goal of the season to seal a 5-2 win for the Generals.
Generals goaltender Christopher Alexakis stopped 27 of 29 shots to earn his 14th win of the season.
Currently in the team's first season as members of the United States Premier Hockey League, tonight's win marked the Eugene Generals franchise's first ever win at a USPHL Shwocase Series event.
"It felt really good to get out here and get the Generals' first victory outside of the Pacific Northwest," said Head Coach Justin Kern. "The boys had a lot of confidence coming into the showcase after learning from the last one. They wanted to get it done tonight, and they did that. That was probably one of the best backchecking games that we've had all year, and if we keep playing like that then people better watch out. I'm really proud of the boys to get it done, but we've got three more out here I'd like to get a couple more."
The Generals' run at the Midwest Showcase continues on Monday as they face off against the Motor City Hawks at 10:20am PST at the Leafs Ice Centre. Video coverage will be available via HockeyTV while updates will be provided on Twitter.