Generals Stunned by Brown Bears In Two Game Sweep
By Patrick Garriepy
After a month away from Attleboro, the Northeast Generals returned home as they welcomed the Kenai River Brown Bears of Alaska to the friendly confines of the New England Sports Village. The Bears, however, would turn out to be not-so-gracious guests, as they showed no lead would be safe in a stunning two-game weekend sweep.
Game one on the weekend was a back-and-forth affair which would see the Generals establish a one goal lead on three separate occasions. Despite leading for a majority of the game, the Brown Bears continued their push right until the end of the game. Defensean Mick Heneghan’s second goal of the season gave the Generals the lead with under ten minutes to go, but it would not last.
With Kenai River buzzing in the Northeast end of the ice, Robert McCollum fired a shot toward goaltender Joey Stanizzi that would be tipped by Max Helgeson, tying the game with only 4 seconds in regulation. The nature of the play was eerily similar to one in the Generals previous home game a month ago against New Jersey, when the Titans would tie the game with 12 seconds to go before taking the decision in a shootout.
Overtime would see both teams exchange opportunities, but it was a breakaway tally by Theo Thrun that would complete the comeback for the Brown Bears. While Stanizzi made the initial stop, the puck would carum off his shoulder and into the net behind him. Landon Pavlisin made 32 saves in the win while Joey Stanizzi was once again saddled with the hard-luck loss, stopping 22 pucks in defeat. Dylan Schuett also scored his second and third goals of the season for Northeast.
Game 2 saw the Generals come out with a greater sense of urgency as they controlled the pace of play for the better part of periods one and two. After establishing a three goal advantage and with time winding down in the second, the wheels slowly began to fall off. Justin Daly’s first of the year for the Brown Bears would cut the lead to 3-1 heading into the final frame. Still, the Generals looked to be in good shape.
Just one minute into the third, it was Logan Ritchie providing a quick strike that would set the tone for the remainder of the game. Things only got worse for Northeast from there, as Justin Daly added his second goal just a few minutes later to tie the game up. With momentum quickly tipping to Kenai River’s end of the ice, the Generals struggled to get back in the flow that had put them up by three in the first place.
With the game tied and heading toward the back-half of the third, Gens’ defenseman Cam Gaudette was sent off for a checking-from-behind infraction. The penalty gave the Brown Bears the opportunity it needed to finally take the lead, as Theo Thrun would deposit his second game-winning goal of the weekend. The Bears would add an empty-netter for insurance, leaving the Generals to pick up the pieces after back-to-back heartbreaking losses.
Pavlisin stopped 30 shots in the victory, while Connor Bradford made 35 saves for Northeast and took the loss in his NAHL debut. Generals goal-scorers were Trevor Smith (7), Tyler Cooper (5) and Charlie Reid (2). The Generals will continue their homestand this upcoming weekend as they welcome the Maryland Black Bears to Attleboro for a three-game weekend set.