The Northeast Generals kicked off their 4th season this past weekend at the New England Sports Village, earning a split of two games against the Maine Nordiques in what were Maine’s first ever games as a franchise. The Generals, who play in the East Division of the North American Hockey League (a tier-2 juniors league with ties to the NHL), welcomed the new franchise to Attleboro to kick the season off. Things initially did not go the way the Generals might have planned.
At the season opener on Friday, the Generals came out buzzing a looking to make an immediate impact, only to be met at the door by Maine goalie Connor Androwlewicz. Androwlewicz and his team weathered the early storm brought on by the Generals, leading to an opening score from Jacob Crespo, seven minutes into the first period. The Nordiques would go onto pot 4 goals before Tyler Cooper was finally able to respond for the Generals in the third period – but it was too little, too late.
Maine would come away with the victory in their inaugural game.
Generals standout rookie goalie Joey Stanizzi faced 28 shots in the loss, allowing 4 of the 5 goals, with the fifth coming on an empty netter. He deferred to goaltending counterpart Ethan Racz the following night at the Sports Village.
With Racz in net, the Generals looked to atone for their opening-night loss to the Nords, and it was Tyler Cooper once again picking up where he left off – netting the first goal of the game 12 minutes into the first period. With the Nordiques occupying the offensive zone, Cooper was able to intercept a cross-ice pass at the blueline, leading to a clean braekaway from his own zone. With a subtle move, Cooper deposited the puck through the legs of Androlewicz, who started both games in net for Maine.
Although the Nordiques responded with a pair of goals from Noah Kane and Kevin Pitts to take the lead, it was the Generals coming away with the next four goals. Cam Gaudette, Ethan Destefani, Gerard Marretta and Trevor Smith each found the back of the net in the second period, leaving the Generals feeling comfortable heading into the final period.
The two teams would go onto play a wild, six-goal third period, which saw Maine pull to within one on two separate occassions. In the end, Racz and company would put together a strong-enough effort to hold off the Nordiques’ charge and escape with a 7-6 victory. Joseph Larossa and Jack Ring also netted their firsts of the year, and Racz stopped 29 of 35 shots.
The Generals are now off to Blaine, Minnesota for the next 4 game as they take part in the 16th annual NAHL Showcase tournament. They will return home to the New England Sports Village for a 3-game weekend series against the Jamestown Rebels from September 27th – 29th. Tickets are available at www.northeastgenerals.com.