- Created: 15 January 2017
After taking three of four possible points from the West Sound Warriors this past weekend, the Eugene Generals now prepare for a crucial road matchup vs. the second place Seattle Ravens.
On Friday, the Generals suffered one of their most disappointing losses of the season as the West Sound Warriors prevailed in a shootout, 2-1.
Initially, things looked good for the Generals as new addition Colton Symbol scored the game's opening goal to give Eugene a 1-0 lead, but Symbol's tally would be Eugene's only goal of the period as one of the USP3HL's most potent attacks was held at bay by Warriors goaltender Brian Lacharite.
With the Generals still leading 1-0 early in the second period, Brennan Newton tied the score at 1-1, eventually leading to a shootout after neither team was able to score in the third period and ensuing overtime period. In the shootout, both Lacharite and Generals goaltender Jamie Frantz were unable to make a save in the first two rounds, but Generals forward Josh Hawn failed to convert on the team's third attempt and Warriors forward Donald "Hank" Cribbs quickly followed by burying his chance to seal the 2-1 win for the Warriors, their first win over the Generals this season.
Eager to make amends for Friday's defeat, the Generals responded quickly on Saturday night as defenseman Brett Sparks opened the scoring five minutes into the game with a power play goal, his 19th of the season. Frazier "Butch" Mohler would score eight minutes later to double the lead and veteran Cole Bloemer follow three minutes after that to put the Generals ahead, 3-0. With just ten seconds left in the period, new addition Colton Symbol scored his second goal in as many games with the team as Eugene would carry a 4-0 lead into the first intermission.
In the second period, a total of eight goals would be scored - seven by the Generals - as Symbol (3), Bloemer (3), and Mohler would each light the lamp to give Eugene an 11-1 lead with twenty minutes to go. In the final period, Mohler would complete his hat trick and score the only goal of the period as the Generals cruised to a 12-1 win. Generals goaltender Christopher Alexakis stopped 20 of 21 shots faced to earn his 16th win of the season.
In the weekend's other Pacific Division matchup, the Seattle Ravens and Tri-City Outlaws faced off for what was scheduled to be a two-game series, however inclement weather led to the two teams facing off for just one game, a 12-0 win by Seattle. Friday's previously scheduled game between the two teams will be made up at a later date.
It was a quiet weekend in the North Division as only four games took place, starting with the Jersey Hitmen downing the Boston Junior Bruins, 5-2, on Friday evening. The following day, Jersey completed a sweep of the two-game series against the Junior B's by a slimmer margin of 3-2 while second place I.H.C. was able to hold off a scrappy Springfield Pics side for a narrow 4-3 win.
Contrasting the North, it was a busy three days in the Midwest Division as a total of eight games were played and every team played at least once. Motor City was the lone team to only play one game, but it was a big one as they netted a dramatic 5-4 OT win over the first place Traverse City North Stars that included two Hawks goals in the final 84 seconds of regulation to force overtime. Traverse City responded the following day with a 7-5 win over Kalkaska before downing the Rhinos again, 6-1, on Sunday. Alpena outscored Tri City by a 13-3 margin as they swept their two-game series while Decatur took the first two games of a three-game series against Ironwood behind wins of 6-5 (OT) and 8-3 and before falling to the 'Yoops on Sunday by a score of 9-6.
In the South Division, the Florida Jr. Blades picked up another two points to maintain a comfortable margin ahead of the pack after defeating the Palm Beach Hawks, 5-0, on Friday. The two sides face off again tonight in Lake Worth, Florida. Carolina was able to gain ground on idle Charlotte thanks to two big wins over the Potomac Patriots while Daytona went 1-1-0 on the weekend after defeating the Tampa Juniors, 6-3, on Saturday before losing, 6-5, the following night to the Palm Beach Hawks.
With only ten games remaining in the Generals' regular season, it's time to start looking ahead as the postseason picture is beginning to become a bit clearer across the USPHL landscape.
In total, one (1) Pacific Division team, one (1) North Division team, two (2) Midwest Division teams and two (2) South Division teams will have the opportunity to participate in the Beantown Spring Classic which will determine the USP3HL champion. Each division will hold their own respective playoff before teams can then move on to the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts. There, the six teams in attendance will be divided into two pools to play in a "round robin" format.
In the Pacific Division, the top two teams at the end of the regular season move on to play a best-of-three matchup that will determine the Pacific Division champion and thus the division's representative at the Beantown Spring Classic. As the standings currently sit, the Eugene Generals and Seattle Ravens would face off in the aforementioned Pacific Division Championship Series with Eugene owning home ice for two of the potential three games. The winner of the Pacific Division Championship Series would then be placed in a pool with the first place finishing team from the South Division (currently: Florida Jr. Blades) and the second place finishing team from the Midwest Division (currently: Decatur Blaze).
If the playoffs began today using the current USP3HL standings, the two pools would look like the following:
Pool A: Florida Jr. Blades (South #1), Eugene Generals (Pacific #1), Decatur Blaze (Midwest #2)
Pool B: Jersey Hitmen (North #1), Traverse City North Stars (Midwest #1), Charlotte Rush (South #2)
Following round robin play, the #1 and #2 teams from each pool would cross over and play one another before advancing on to a best-of-three championship round.
The Pacific Division Championship Series is scheduled to take place during the span of 2/21 to 2/29 with official dates still to be determined while the USPHL Beantown Spring Classic will be held from March 7-10.
News & Notes
Military Appreciation Night Jersey Auction
The 2017 Eugene Generals Military Appreciation Jersey Auction concludes this Thursday, January 19th at 12:00pm PST.
In an ode to the brave men and women of our nation's armed forces, the Generals donned one-of-a-kind, specially designed camouflage jerseys during their game vs. the Tri-City Outlaws on Friday, January 6th, 2017. Now, you have a chance to purchase your very own game-worn Generals camouflage jersey.
Proceeds from the 2017 Military Appreciation Jersey Auction will benefit local veterans organizations, foundations and charities.
USA Junior Hockey Magazine: NCDC Set To Change Junior Hockey
In case you've missed the big news in recent weeks, the United States Premier Hockey League has proudly announced that a new, tuition-free division will begin play for the 2017-18 hockey season.
Named the National Collegiate Development Conference, the NCDC will be concentrated within the nation's Northeast and thusly right in the footprint of the majority of Division I and Division III universities and colleges. Teams participating in the NCDC during it's first season of play will be the Boston Bandits, Boston Junior Bruins, Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Islanders Hockey Club, Jersey Hitmen, New Jersey Rockets, Northern Cyclones, P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, Rochester Monarchs, South Shore Kings and Syracuse Stars.
With preparations for the NCDC already well underway, USA Junior Hockey Magazine took an in-depth look by talking to coaches, players and staff about what to expect as a new level of hockey comes to the USPHL in the 2017-18 season.
Jr. Gens Have Strong Showing In Medford
An impressive season for the Eugene Jr. Generals program continued this past weekend in Medford, Oregon. Led by coaches Jon Miko (far left), Kevin Chambers (right) and Kristin Niemi (far right), the Jr. Generals posted a 3-1 record and a third place finish at this year's King of the Ice Tournament including wins over Vancouver, Medford and Portland.