With the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament descending upon the New England Sports Village this week, the Northeast Generals schedule saw their weekend get started early on Thursday as they played three games between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and New Jersey. For the Generals, the opportunity to gain ground in the race for the final playoff spot was on the line. For their competition, it was the chance to solidify their position in the playoff field with the season starting to wind down.
Things got kicked off on Thursday afternoon, where the Generals stopped by Pennsylvania for a quick game with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. While the Gens have faired well against the Knights this season, this time they would find their opponents a little less welcoming. Knights captain Tyrone Bronte opened the scoring almost 8 minutes into the opening frame, before being followed up with two more goals by Anthony Mastromonica and Johnny Kaljian. The 3 goal deficit would prove to be too much for Northeast to overcome, as they wouldn’t register a goal until only 23 seconds remained in the game. The Knights took the game by a final of 3-1. Joey Stanizzi stopped 27 of 30 shots in the loss for Northeast.
Following the loss, the Generals made their way to Middletown, New Jersey, as they paid a visit to former captain Joe Nagle and the East Division-leading Titans. While things got off to a bit of a slow start with a scoreless first period, that would change in the second. Charlie Reid’s tally gave the Generals a 1-0 advantage against goaltender Patrick Pugliese and the Titans, but that’s when the push-back came. New Jersey would go onto to score the next four goals of the period before taking a 4-2 lead into the locker room.
The Titans would go on to add two more goals in the third and triple up the Generals by a final of 6-2. Connor Bradford took the loss for the Generals, stopping 16 out of 20 shots in nearly 35 minutes before deferring to starter Joey Stanizzi. Ryan Kuzmich also scored his first NAHL goal in the defeat.
After coming up empty in the first two games of the weekend, the Gens looked to put together a big effort on Saturday night against New Jersey. Joey Stanizzi was back in net to start against the NAHL’s top offense. Early on, it looked to be more of the same for the Generals. Goals by Mitch Machlitt and Matthew Iasenza put the Titans up 2-0 by the midway point of the first period. Facing adversity once more, the Generals went to work.
Defenseman Alexander Tertyshny, playing in his third game since being acquired at the trade deadline, got the Generals offense going as he potted his first two goals since the move, evening up the game a 2-2. General’s top prospect Cam Gaudette gave Northeast the lead that they would not relinquish from that point, as they went onto a strong 7-2 win to close out the weekend. Also scoring in the win were Ryan Kuzmich (2 goals), Captain Dylan Schuett and Clark Kerner. Stanizzi captured the win, stopping 26 of 29 shots.
The Generals will now continue their road trip this upcoming weekend for a 3-game series against their division rival, the Maine Nordiques.
Ryan Kuzmich, who was a healthy scratch for Thursday’s game against WBS, finished the weekend with 3 goals and 2 assists and lead the Generals in weekend scoring. Kuzmich tallied 2 assists in his first 20 games this season.
Clark Kerner’s goal was his first since December 20th vs Maine.
Kyle Schroder tallied his first two assists since joining the Generals at the trade deadline.
The Generals scored 7 goals in one game for the fourth time this season. The previous three times came all came against the Maine Nordiques.
The Generals remain 7 points out of the final playoff spot in the East Division, with 3 games in hand on fourth-place Maryland.