- Created: 02 February 2017
The Eugene Generals (30-7-3, 63pts) clinched the USP3HL Pacific Division regular season title this past weekend after sweeping a two-game series against the West Sound Warriors (3-35-1, 7pts) at The Rink Exchange in Eugene, Oregon.
Friday, February 3rd, 2017: Generals - 4, Warriors - 1
On Friday, the Generals welcomed the Warriors to town for just the second time this season as Eugene opened up a six-game homestand that will conclude the USP3HL regular season.
It took less than six minutes of play for the Generals to get on the scoreboard as team captain Logan Sanders scored his 17th goal of the season after a nifty feed from recent addition Colton Symbol, and Sanders would strike again with less than two minutes left in the period as he scored his second goal of the game to give the Generals a 2-0 lead.
In the second period, team-leading scorer Cody Arbelovsky pushed the Generals lead to 3-0 as he tallied his 41st goal of the season after redirecting a Brett Sparks shot in front of the net, and Cole Bloemer would follow four minutes later with a tap-in goal to make it a 4-0 game.
West Sound would snap the Generals shutout less than 30 seconds after Bloemer's second period goal, but that would prove to cap the scoring for both teams on the evening as each side played a scoreless third period and the Generals picked up a 4-1 win to start the homestand.
The Generals finished the game having outshoot the Warriors, 43-35, while Generals netminder Christopher Alexakis stopped 34 of 35 shots faced to earn his 18th win of the season.
Saturday, February 4th, 2017: Generals - 8, Warriors - 3
On Saturday, Sanders and Symbol linked up again to score the game's opening goal as the captain gave the Generals a 1-0 lead at the 2:27 mark with his 19th goal of the season. Fellow defenseman Nash Berkowitz would follow 9:14 minutes later to make it a 2-0 game, but the Warriors would respond with less than two minutes left in the period as Christopher Mitchell would score on a breakaway. However, the one-goal deficit was short-lived for the Warriors as recent addition Adam Shimamoto scored 82 second later to give the Generals a 3-1 lead heading into the intermission.
In the second period, goals from Jack Thornton, Nash Berkowitz and Colton Symbol in the period's first nine minutes pushed the Generals lead up to 6-1 before Warriors forward Warren Berg scored with less than five minutes remaining to cut West Sound's deficit back to just four, but the five-goal margin was restored just before the second intermission as Generals defenseman Brett Sparks would score with just 28 seconds left on the clock to give Eugene a 7-2 lead with twenty minutes left.
In the final period, each team traded a goal as Warriors forward Nathan Lutz scored on a power play at the 6:11 mark while Logan Sanders followed ten minutes later with his second goal of the game, also on the power play, to cap off an 8-3 win for the Generals.
Generals goaltender Christian Zecchetto finished with 21 saves on 28 shots faced to earn his seventh win of the season while Adam Shimamoto and Colton Symbol each scored in Eugene for the first time since being acquired from the Tri-City Outlaws.
Find the top three goals from this past weekend's series vs. the West Sound Warriors.
In the Midwest, the Traverse City North Stars officially clinched the regular season division title despite not playing a single game this past weekend as a loss by Decatur mathematically eliminated the Blaze from contention for the division's top spot and a first round bye in the Midwest Division Playoffs. The Blaze took two of three games against the Tri City Icehawks this past weekend while Motor City kept their hopes for second place alive after sweeping a two-game series vs. the Alpena Flyers.
In the South, the Florida Jr. Blades also wrapped up the top spot in their respective division after earning another two wins, this time against the Tampa Bay Juniors. Meanwhile, Charlotte clinched the second seed in the upcoming South Division Playoffs meaning 3-seed Carolina will have a tough matchup against the Atlanta Junior Knights to begin the postseason. Carolina split a two-game series with the Richmond Generals this past weekend while the Florida Eels were able to lock up the last remaining playoff spot in the South as they took two of three games against the Daytona Racers.
In the North, the Islanders Hockey Club took care of business last weekend to keep their hopes of a regular season division title alive after sweeping a two-game, home-and-home series against the Springfield Pics. The Hitmen, who were idle this past weekend, enter the final two weeks of the regular season with a two-point lead over I.H.C. while also having a game in hand, however the two teams will meet for a two-game series on the final weekend of the regular season in a matchup that very well could decide the USP3HL North Division regular season champion. The Hitmen and I.H.C. have split their four previous meetings this season while each team has scored 16 goals in those four meetings combined.
New & Notes
Generals Clinch Regular Season Division Title
With last Friday night's win over the West Sound Warriors, the Generals officially clinched the USP3HL Pacific Division regular season title and the top seed in the upcoming Pacific Division Championship Series. All three possible Pacific Division Championship Series games will be played on home ice with the dates and times listed below:
|Tuesday, February 21st||Seattle Ravens||7:30pm PST||The Rink Exchange|
|Friday, February 24th||Seattle Ravens||7:30pm PST||The Rink Exchange|
|Saturday, February 25th||Seattle Ravens||7:30pm PST||The Rink Exchange|
Playoff tickets will be available in the coming days - be sure to stay tuned to EugeneGenerals.com for more information.
The team's current 63 points on the season is the best mark since the 2009-10 season when the Generals finished the year with 76 points.
Generals Goaltending Trio Shines
With Christian Zecchetto having earned his fifth win of the season this past Saturday, the Generals became one of only three USP3HL teams fielding at least three goaltenders with five (or more) wins and a goals against average under 3.00 (minimum of 450:00 minutes played). Only the Jersey Hitmen and Traverse City can also claim the same feat as the trio of Eugene netminders have combined to post a 2.36 goals against average through 40 combined games this season.