Playing in their first NAHL post season game, the visiting Northeast Generals stunned the East Division regular season champion Philadelphia Rebels by winning 3 – 0 in the first game of this best-of-five divisional semi-final series.
The opening period was a feeling out process between the teams, with an up and down game and limited shots (total of twelve).
After getting the butterflies out of their system, the Generals scored two goals a minute and a half apart from each other in the second period.
Jeff Skinner would score ultimately the game winner just 7:44 into the middle stanza.
After Northeast dumped the puck deep inside the offensive zone, Rebels netminder Ryan Keane retrieved the loose puck and went to send it up along the far side corner but it was intercepted by the Generals’ Colin Bilek. The West Point commit was checked off the puck by Bryant Gunn and the loose puck went back behind the net where Kolby Vegara went to pick it up. However, it was intercepted by Skinner who tried a wraparound shot that was saved by Keane but Skinner picked up his own rebound and lifted it up high past Keane to score the Generals first-ever playoff goal.
A minute and a half later the Generals would double their lead.
After Nico Appendino’s shot was saved by Northeast goalie David Fessenden, the rebound came out to Ryan Brogan who headmanned the puck to Brian Chambers who brought the puck up along the near side boards. Chambers would enter the offensive zone on a two-on-one with Michael Higgins. As Chamber skated to the top of the faceoff circle he sent a cross-ice pass to Higgins who wristed past Keane to mae it 2 – 0 Generals.
As the Rebels penalty killed just ended, the puck went into the Generals zone where it was picked up by Brady Gaudette and he passed it up to Colin McCabe. As McCabe gained the line, he took a wrist shot that bounced off Keane’s shoulder and trickled behind him and into the net with six minutes remaining to close out the score.
Keane stopped 17 of 20 shots while Fessenden turned aside all 24 shots for the shutout. Click here for the box score.
Game two of this best-of-five series begins at 7:05pm.