Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy- Patrick Garriepy Photography
Tonight, the Northeast Generals got out played by a Maine Nordiques group that is bound for the NAHL Playoffs in a few weeks. The Generals showed bursts in the game, but could not get the equalizer, and played hard, but left their Head Coach, Bryan Erikson wanting more. As he said ” We came out extremely flat which was very disappointing. I really thought we were going to build off of yesterday’s performance. But we were flat and they came out flying. Credit to them. They are a good team. And they didn’t give us room to breathe. Then I thought we battled back well but when you cheat the game as bad as we did in the first period I am not sure we deserve to win.”
With that said, there was a star for the Generals tonight, Hugo Haas. The Opava, Czech Republic native put up 38 saves and an assist on the evening to keep his team in the game. When asked about the AIC commit on the night, and why Haas deserves an NHL Draft selection, Erikson said ” Hugo is a stud. Just an absolute star. We are lucky we have him. Should have been down 5-0 after 1 at least but he kept us in it. And he got fired up in between periods and let the boys know they needed to play better. It’s one thing to be a great kid and goalie but also to show that type of leadership is special. An NHL team would get a person that will not be outworked, a mature young man, and of course an outstanding goalie.” There were some additional standouts tonight for Erikson, as he said ” I liked what we saw from 2021-22 tender Patrick Geary. He is an 04 and I thought he looked more and more comfortable as the game went on. He is going to be a standout for us next year. I also like Matt Sutter, another 04 D man. Very physical, smart gaps, smart passes. He is progressing so well. Very proud of the work he has put in.”
Going forward, Erikson is thankful for many things, including his General Manager Matt Dibble, who has shaped the second half renaissance of this group while setting it up for multiple seasons. As Bryan took the time to explain, also noting why Dibble deserves some Executive of the Year votes “Matt Dibble is a great person. He is a great friend but an even better GM. What he does that I love is he listens. Listens to what type of kid we want, what type of player we want. Not just going after the “best” kids, but the right one. The talent he brought in after the New Year are all 2 or 3 year guys that we could build around. But it wasn’t a case of throwing in the towel and building for next year it was about improving the current product while also keeping an eye on the future. And he has done that. The team got better, the guys he brought in have fit in great in the room. Matt is the best GM in the NAHL hands down. I think he should get votes of course. But I am just really excited that we have him and that he is doing such a tremendous job.” In addition to Dibble, Erikson has been thankful that he has had some fans back at the few home games the Generals have had saying ” It has been great to be in our building. Had a bunch of Attleboro youth players in the building tonight which made it fun. I love when we get fans. We were building a ton of community excitement last year and then the pandemic. We look forward to Matt Atherton and Alice Boushell having an entire off season to get our great town of Attleboro to want to come out to games now that it is getting safer.” Atheron and Boushell are two of the key presences in the front office that promote the Generals to the world, and they will now have a full summer to shine and showcase the Generals to get ticket buyers in the building next season.
For the rest of the season, the Generals have a lot to play for, and still have goals. As Erikson said, despite being out of the playoffs, and on moving past the game tonight, “Every game is a chance to improve. Every game is a chance to build on our identity, discipline and focus. Not just for next year but for this year. We have a bunch of 2000’s still trying to get their commitments and we want them to showcase themselves well. They have given a lot to this program and we want to give back by giving them an opportunity to showcase themselves the best they can… It’s one game. Our goal is now to win the last 6 games. We play 4 at home, 2 on the road all in a 8 day span. So let’s enjoy our last full week of practice together, have some fun, get better and get ready to finish off the year strongly.” If the Generals keep to what made them any sort of competitive for a playoff spot, they will help their organization and their players looking for college homes to both be in a better spot heading into the summer.
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