Matthew Jennings: Read what he brings to the Herd at UAH

Graphic Credit: Total Package Hockey

Photo Credit: Ohio State University Athletics

Matthew Jennings is a Buford Georgia native who spent the first three years of his college hockey career at Ohio State. Through overcoming injuries, the Georgian has gotten a chance to play the game he loves as part of a hockey family. His Dad Steve taught him about hockey, and he has always been encouraged by him. Steve taught him the value of hard work on and off the ice, and has been one of his coaches through the Total Package Hockey program. Jennings praised the honesty of his dad, and his ability to keep things on the level with him. That same honesty and ability to build relationships is something Jennings has taken into his hockey career.

Jennings is a consistent two way center who has a battle level that made his game ideal for what the Chargers Coaching staff is looking for. While he has battled injuries in his time at Ohio State, his resume with the Buckeyes and the Green Bay Gamblers speak to the type of player he is. He is a hard nosed, two way forward that prides himself on outworking the opponent at all times. In a way, parts of his game are similar to one of his friends, and the other Buford native to play hockey for the Chargers, Connor Wood who is good friends with Jennings. Of the school and the hockey program, according to Jennings, Wood told him ” nothing but positives.”

On what the coaching staff told him, he said that the staff said that there was ” nothing guaranteed”, and that he will have to earn every second of ice time. That does not at all phase Jennings, and he praised the staff at large personally, saying ” I like them both as people.” For the type of culture all three coaches have talked about building, adding a player with the mentality of Jennings, and one with solid two way potential, is an ideal add for a team looking for more depth at its center position.

With Jennings’ family now living two hours away from Huntsville, they will get to see him play in a lot of games. While his entire family is happy that Jennings is a lot closer to home, Jennings singled out the excitement of one of his family members. As he said ” my mom is pumped.”

When his hockey career comes to an end, Jennings wants to be a financial planner. He belives it combines the best of what he likes most, relationship building and numbers. As he said, “I Really like Math…. also you get to have personal connections with people.. its not all crunching numbers.”

As for his time asa Buckeye, Jennings is nothing but thankful for the relationships he has built with his former teammates. Multiple times when talking about the game and what he cherishes most about it, the ability to form lasting bonds with his team, no matter at what level of the game he has played it at, means the most to him. As a Charger, he now has the ability to forge new relationships, and provide another example to a young group working to improve on its past season, and learn from how they arrived at its conclusion.

Growing up, playing for the TPH program Jennings would get to come to the Von Braun Center at least once a season. He saw what Charger Hockey meant, and was part of the superb atmosphere that its fans bring to games every night. Now, he will be one of the players that those same youth hockey players in attendance get to look up to, playing closer to his family. While nothing is guaranteed for where the forward will play this season or how much, his path to rehab after his injury at Ohio State, combined with his tenacious effort on and off the ice to improve, it is clear that Jennings is ready to help lead the Herd to greater heights this season. On getting to come back and play as a Charger, after growing up getting his love for the game of college hockey at UAH games, Jennings aptly said ” Its kind of funny how the universe works.”

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Army West Point Associate Head Coach Zach McKelvie: Part of something special

Photo Credit: Army West Point Athletics

Army West Point Hockey Associate Head Coach Zach McKelvie has a distinguished career as one of the most complete defenders to play at Army West Point, a leader off the ice during his time as a cadet athlete, and as an elite human, of the type that Brian Riley and his staff go out of their way to bring on campus. That campus visit is how he was sold on the idea of coming to West Point. As he said, “at the time I was playing for the Bozeman Ice Dogs in the North American Hockey League, then Coach Riley and his staff had called me and invited me for a visit.. as soon as I came on campus I was sold.” He values service to others and being a person that plays for those around him, rather than playing with them. Head Coach Brian Riley has talked about this value before, and it is one that is at the center of Army Hockey culture, and arguably part of what West Point tries to teach the value of to the thousands of future leaders that go on to lead the American Soldier on a yearly basis.

He also is forever thankful to the Boston Bruins for waiting for him for two years. Jim Benning and Peter Chiarelli trekked to Brian Riley’s office and noted their delight in McKelvie as a person and a player. He ended up playing for a short time as a professional, finishing on the ice as he is off it, a champion. He won the Kelly cup with the Alaska Aces in 2014. McKelvie credits the Bruins, and the numerous supporters he had, as he said, “for them to stick with me while i was taking time off from hockey… was something special”, and “It means a tremendous amount to me that they stuck with me.”

One thing McKelvie, and Riley drive home continuously to all professional teams, and recruits is that their cadet athletes can play professionally upon graduation. Thanks to a recent policy change, Army has its previous captain, Dominic Franco playing at the AHL level for the Rochester Americans. Zack hopes to see Trevin Kozlowski benefit from that. The All American goaltender has offers from multiple teams, and is continuously honing his skills in net at Tate Rink before he graduates. Should Kozlowski return, he will be a graduate assistant for the team next year. Like a very famous West Point Graduate, Mike Krzyzewski, Trevin has jokingly taken to being called Coach K. Both possess an uncanny ability to lead others, and mentor the team, and regardless of where Trevin ends up, the mark he left on Army Hockey is an indelible one that will inspire many who come to West Point after Trevin graduates in May. As McKelvie said of what Trevin brings to any group off the ice “he’s going to make any organization’s culture better.”

As for McKelvie, he is the lead recruiter for Riley’s group, and takes pride in what he does. He finished his career on the ice as a champion, and likes recruiting players with winning backgrounds. Two commits to Army West Point that could be there this fall won the Dineen Cup with the Jersey Hitmen playing for their NCDC team in the USPHL. Two integral players in turning around Army West Point as a program, Tyler Pham and Mike Preston, finished their time as Clark Cup Champions with the Indiana Ice. There are numerous examples of the value of winning in building a group. As Zach said, “I don’t think skill can replace guys that know how to win.” He noted the influence of his former colleague and current AIC Head Coach Eric Lang in saying “he taught me how to connect with players… he’s definitely shaped my recruiting philosophy, and I think his influence is still felt here.”

That same philosophy of finding good humans and people, combined with the natural restrictions Army West Point has, helped McKelvie and his twin brother (and former assistant, and now head coach at Bethel University at the Division three level) Chris find Colin Bilek, the second best goal scorer in the country this past season. As Zach noted, Chris said to him upon first seeing him play with the Northeast Generals, “‘ “we are not going to lose games with this kid.” Zach praised the honesty of Bryan Erikson and Matt Dibble of the Generals, and positively talked about Erikson noting the value Bilek brings, ” nobody was recruiting Colin, and I give Bryan a ton of credit for pushing us to keep watching him.” His relationship with the Generals is common across the league, especially in the East Division. He praised the North American Hockey League, calling it an “honest league” that develops its players well for their next step in life, both on and off the ice.

As for the decision McKelvie made to come back and be a coach at Army West Point “It took me less than a day to decide that I want to be a part of the program and it was a perfect decision to go back to West Point.” The lead recruiter for this team shares a passion for the success of everyone, and embodies the culture that the Riley family has worked for many decades to build.

To sum up what McKelvie thinks of the entire group that took the Black Knights program to new heights this season, he said of the team success this year, “everybody played an equal part.” Expect McKelvie to tell incoming recruits of all of the success that this senior class had, and further build the tradition at Army West Point. With the recruiting dead period projected to end potentially as early as June, he will be back recruiting players around the country, especially in the NAHL, where the Black Nights find a lot of quality players, like Bilek, that often can be overlooked by other schools. The team will soon gather for their year end awards banquet where the senior captains from this historic group will announce the leaders for next season.

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Liam McCanney: Humility and growth on and off the ice

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

Current Northeast Generals’ forward Liam McCanney did not know much about junior hokey before Bryan Erikson (current head coach of the Generals, and at that time was also the general manager too) offered him a spot on his NAHL team. As Liam said ” I was pretty shocked.” when Erikson offered him a spot on the team’s camp roster via a tender with a chance to earn a main roster spot that fall . From there, as Liam said of the journey which has him on the verge of earning a scholarship to play Division One College hockey, of his time in juniors “I never really knew what juniors were… I really didn’t think I was going to go play juniors…. Here we are now. “

On the ice, McCanney has consistently developed year-over-year for the Generals, contributing in previous seasons 12 points, 32 points, and then this year 33 points. He models his game after a center on his favorite team, the Philadelphia Flyers. He tries to bring the same traits to Attleboro that Travis Konecny brings to the Flyers. As Liam said, him and Konecny each provide some defensive chops, and know how to throw checks around. On his own abilities Liam said ” “I’ve got a little grittiness to myself as well.”

On his game, Erikson the following of Liam’s journey

“This is Liam’s third year with us. He had grown so much as a player and a person. He has always had excellent speed and has worked hard. But he was able to improve how to use his speed, create deception and more separation from defenders. Each year he has developed his scoring ability. First year he was more of a hard forechecker who blocked shots and finished every hit. Since then he has kept those traits and improved them while also learning to drive to the back post more in order to generate goals. He is now a threat to score a goal on every shift. Just a great kid who does everything we ask, kills penalties better than most kids in the league, understands what it takes to be successful and puts the work in to reach his goals. Liam is a world class kid and hockey player that will make some team look very smart for grabbing him.”

Personifying the “world class kid” Liam is, we asked what people should know about him. He could have said anything he wanted, but chose arguably the most humble answer, simply saying ” I don’t even know what to say about myself.” The mere fact that he choose to adress that question in that fashion speaks volumes to his humility and willingness to play for others on the Generals more than play with them.

Going forward, Liam is not yet sure what he wants to study in college, but knows business and criminal justice are at the top of the potential majors list under consideration. He could change his mind from that, as he is open to more career choices as well.

Of the type of home he wants to go to, he wants one with a similar loyalty to what Erikson has showed him for the past three seasons. Liam said that of an ideal coaching staff that he is looking for ” “one that takes the time to help each player get better as a player and as a person.”

Like his roommate, Jonathan Young, McCanney is focusing on the day-to-day of helping his team get to the playoffs more than obsessing over which schools will and will not talk to him. The list of teams interested is growing, and McCanney’s desire to earn a playoffs matchup similar to his first year in juniors remains. He wants to earn the right to face Johnstown in the first round and to get a chance to experience the electric atmosphere at Johnstown’s games in the playoffs one more time. To get there, they will have to win the vast majority of their remaining games against the Black Bears of Maryland. As he said of the team’s approach, starting this weekend, “we’re going to play every game like it is our first round.”

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Danbury returns the favor, defeating the Northeast Generals 8-3: Now What?

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

Tonight, the Generals came up on the wrong side of an 8-3 result against the Junior Hat Tricks of Danbury. The Generals got off to a good start, scoring the first two goals before the Junior Hat Tricks put together a superb second period, and handed them the same fate they were given by Bryan Erikson’s group last Friday night .

Erikson had this to say on a positive takeaway from this tough game.

” Only real positive we take is that it’s clear when we play simple smart hockey we win. When we play individually and selfishly we have periods like the 2nd. A loss is only real bad if you don’t learn from it. And the way the boys battled I think they got the message.”

In that second period, the Generals conceded goals in different ways, all brought on, in part by a Jr. Hat Tricks team able to get to the dangerous areas of the ice. Hugo Haas fought valiantly, but had to face a lot more top end chances than he did a night ago, and he could not save his team tonight. With that said, his ability to battle and stay calm was a constant even in the face of the force of the offense coming against him.

Going forward, Erikson stressed the need for a short memory, saying

” Continue to work and just focus on the next game. It’s 1 loss. Lose by 12 or lose by 1 they count the same. Only bad loss is one you don’t get anything out of and we have smart enough guys to get that message.”

He added ” back to work.”

This week, Erikson and his staff will work on further honing the transition game and winning battles along the walls. Over these last two games, Danbury outplayed the Generals in both of those areas, and for the Generals to make a playoff run, they have to be ready next week. They play the Black Bears of Maryland next weekend, and will look to get back to their recent winning ways as they battle for a playoff spot.

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Generals grow into 6-1 win over Jr. Hat Tricks: Now what

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

Tonight, the Northeast Generals were the better team against the Danbury Junior Hat Tricks. With the amount of games in hand Maryland and Danbury have, the Generals have to get as many points as they can down the stretch to have a chance to make the NAHL playoffs.

Initially, the Junior Hat Tricks came out with a strong push. Hugo Haas made one of his 44 saves early on a breakaway that would have altered the course of the game a mere 1:17 into the the game. From that point, despite getting outshot, the Generals slowly and methodically took control of the game.

As Head Coach Bryan Erikson said of Haas and his team ” Hugo bailed us out early but the boys turned it on and Gordon came up huge with a goal on a great play from Matt Yeager and Kyle Schroeder. Sign of a team getting better is leading after one after being out played…Hugo is just so good and calm in net. Such a luxury to have him back there and not worry about those types of breakdowns in front of him. He was just great in net but that save in the first set a tone for our guys that they could be aggressive and he would have their backs.”

Tonight, the fourth line was the catalyst for the Generals. They model their game on Erikson’s style of playing a tough, physical brand of hockey that moves the puck forward with a purpose. Ryan Gordon’s two goals to open the scoring ledger for the Generals proved decisive, and the fourth line, for Erikson were the first standouts tonight as he said ” That line was our best line by a lot. Matt Yeager was so good on the forecheck tonight and on the wall in the D zone. He made a ton of good plays. Kyle Schroeder was a beast as usual, going a million miles an hour, finishing hits all over the ice. And Ryan Gordon just keeps getting better. He has earned everything he has gotten. He has simplified his game, which has a ton of skill in it, to become a more 200 foot guy. And he is good in tight. Real happy for him and the rest of that line. A huge reason we have been on a little bit of a roll.”

In addition to the fourth line, Erikson took the time to praise some of his other skaters who still brought a lot to the group, even if they did not put up the gaudy numbers of some of their teammates. As he said, again giving his team all of the credit for their work ” Kyle Schroeder of course. But Matt Sutter made some huge hits, and took some huge hits and just keeps going. I thought some of our 00’s weren’t as good as usual but they got pretty dirty tonight. Tyler Cooper is a good example of a guy that didn’t have his A game but kept his feet moving and created offense. Jonathan Young wasn’t at his best but was still a monster on the forecheck and PK. He did some real good and simple things. When the hands aren’t working or are off you can still affect the game with your legs and your stick. Same goes for Liam McCanney and Hunter Olson who were hard to play against tonight.” All of those players had a hand in limiting quality looks for Danbury. Despite outshooting the Generals, the Junior Hat Tricks had less high quality looks than Erikson’s group did.

Finally, while Erikson noted the value of the team’s work in practice on improving transitions through the neutral zone, and finished with one thing to build on in the series finale against the Jr. Hat Tricks tomorrow night. As he said, the team did a good job with their flow through the neutral zone and drawing defenders out of position. That territorial advantage contributed to Gordon’s Goals, Adam Smith’s two goals, and a lot more of the success of the team tonight. For them to repeat this result tomorrow, or improve on it, Erikson noted that ” We need to be better through the neutral zone and harder on our sticks. We also have to limit the odd man rushes. They do a great job of pushing guys behind our D and we need to have a much better F3 on the forecheck and D that are more aware of when to pinch and when to back off.” Throughout Danbury’s early push, the Generals were giving them too much opportunity to waltz into the zone, and get good looks. For the finale tomorrow night, keep an eye on how the Generals limit their turnovers, and create flowing hockey the other way.

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Sixten is a Gen: More on Sixten Jennersjo Tendering with the Generals

Recently, the Northeast Generals got a commitment from Sixten Jennersjo to join their group next year. The Long Island University commit will further refine his game under the tutelage of Bryan Erikson in the 2021-2022 season. The path just to get him to come to Attleboro was tough. As Erikson said of the process to get him to pick the Generals, it was” very very competitive. He was very sought after. As all good players are. And we were happy he decided to join us.”

Playing for the U18 team this year at Mount St. Charles Academy, he has 39 points in 23 games. What stands out for Sixten as a player is his vision. He projects as a high-level two way forward who can score points in many ways, and one that, like Erikson’s group he has now, focuses on doing the needed work to get better each day.

From his U18 coach Matt Plante ” Sixten is developing into a pure goal scorer and is really just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. Sixten possesses a lethal shot and release, for sure one of his biggest assets. He is also evolving into a very well-rounded player. He is proving to be very responsible in all 3 zones and is someone we can utilize in all situations, even strength and on special teams. He understands how to play with structure and how that benefits his game and the consistency of implementing good habits and attention to doing the little things well continues to grow in his game. Sixten works hard on refining all the intricate little details in his game. As he continues to mature mentally and physically and think the game faster as well as becoming more explosive and adding another step to his game physically his upside is tremendous. We certainly feel that Sixten has the potential to have a significant impact at the Division 1 college level and possibly beyond that depending on how he continues to develop. For as good as Sixten is on the ice and putting the puck in the net he’s an even better person off the ice. He is an absolute pleasure to work with. He’s very respectful, intelligent, inquisitive and he is very honest with himself, his teammates and his coaches. We all enjoy his sense of humor too.”

Given the pair of tenders that have already committed to the Generals before Sixten, forward Jared Scott and defenseman Patrick Geary, both of whom are drawing Division One interest, and Sixten’s addition, Erikson already is getting in place a talented group that will look to build on their accomplishments from this season. All three of them are expected to move on to play at the Division One Level one day.

With veteran netminder Hugo Haas in net, and the scores of returning scorers they have coming back, the Generals should garner some attention of the league early on next season, if they can keep building and improving to finish out this one. General Manager Matt Dibble, and Erikson already have a deep roster coming back, and Sixten’s addition gives them another competitor ready to put his best foot forward as he develops into the goal-scoring, defensibly responsible forward that Plant, Erikson, Dibble, Long Island, and many more see that the Ekero, Sweden native can be. With the group’s ability to bond relatively fast, the sense of humor that Sixten has also projects to be a welcome addition to the group for next season.

The Generals head on the road to face off against the Jr. Hat Tricks of Danbury twice this weekend as both teams are trying to gain ground in their playoff race.

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One quick Frozen Four prediction for each semifinal game

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Tomorrow, the Men’s Hockey Frozen Four gets underway. Here is one prediction for each game.

St. Cloud State-Minnesota State

David Hrenak will win the goalie battle

After seeing both of these teams play multiple times this year, one thing is clear. They both have sensational goalies. Dryden McKay is one of the best in the country, while Hrenak is very good in his own right. With that said, McKay has had some lows in his season this year that have coincided with the rare instance of the Mavericks not scoring against two teams not as good as any that Hrenak has seen in the NCHC. When McKay had his less than ideal nights against Ferris State, and Northern Michigan, his team could not bail him out like Dryden has done so maany times for the Mavericks this year. If the Huskies strike early, the night could be over quickly for a very good Minnesota State team that can score in waves.

Umass-Minnesota Duluth

The team that scores first will win

The Minutemen are without some of their best players due to contact tracing protocols. With that said, the Minutemen still have a lot of talent on their team capable of making the Bulldogs’ lives as tough as North Dakota made them two weeks ago. The Bulldogs themselves are consistently tough to play against, and know how to shut teams down. They are more prone to some less than veteran mistakes than their two previous title teams as new players are forging their own chapters. With that said, we think whichever team can get ahead first will end up winning the game. Both of these teams defend leads well, and each can make the trailer’s life miserable after scoring first.

Regardless of the final result, best wishes for health and safety for all. To even have the Frozen Four this year is something many did not see as possible during points in the season where teams Covid-19 protocols canceled games left and right. This summer with expanded vaccine access, hopefully everyone involved in this great game can complete their course of needed vaccines, and soon, some day soon, all rinks in this great game can see a return to whatever a new normal looks like with more vaccinated fans in attendance providing the lout roar and uniqueness to each venue that makes this game great.

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Jonathan Young- A dependable Northeast General looking for his NCAA home

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

Family, honesty, and growth. If you could string together three words that describe the most important things to North East Generals’ forward Jonathan Young, those three sum up the values of one of the most consistent players on the Generals. Young is so humble about his NAHL career, he did not even realize that he was about to hit the 100 point milestone until his mom Karen told him a few days before he did it against the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks.

Young enjoys being only an hour away from his family in New Hampshire. They attend his games whenever possible. Young’s singular most favorite food is Karen’s chicken parmesan (it would be his last meal, if he could eat anything). As homemade chicken parmesan is considered to be reliably a source of strength and comfort for those who enjoy it, Young’s consistency this year has been a source of comfort to Generals Head Coach Bryan Erikson. Under his tutelage Young has turned himself into a reliable, and dependable two way forward who models himself on the game of his favorite player on his favorite team, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins. Now he is in the final stretch of figuring out where he will play next year. As of now, all of the schools interested in him are Atlantic Hockey schools, which all play a rugged game chock full of players with the upside, potential, skill and talent like Young’s. On choosing his school, Young said it best on where he wants to go saying he would like to be “somewhere I’ll play… and somewhere where I can set myself up for the rest of my life.” He is undecided on a major but has interest in being an entrepreneur following his hockey career, and plans on taking business classes as part of his academic journey in college.

On how Erikson has helped him grow, Young said “I’ve probably never played for a coach like him before.” Young will forever cherish his experience with the Generals program as great. He is looking to join a college with a similar feel to the Generals. He wants to play for whichever school will give him the best chance to thrive, and an atmosphere that feels like home to him, similar to what Erikson and the Generals have done for him. He praised the #CommitJYoung campaign started by current General Manager Matt Dibble. Every time Young dazzles on the ice, the team highlights it with the hashtag. In most any other year, most players with Young’s pedigree would have some sort of scholarship offer in hand and a commitment made. He acknowledged how tough the extra year of eligibility for all players who played the college game this year has made things for players with a 2000 birth year. With that said, he and the Generals are undeterred in helping him find his next home. When he was also the general manager Erikson saw the future potential in Young that colleges are seeing now. In addition, Erikson was effusive and detailed of his growth saying the following

“Jonathan was always a player I coveted. Big, can skate and can rip the puck. The one knock on him was that he was just a goal scorer. That he didn’t use his size. And I felt with the way we emphasize the forecheck he could thrive in those areas of his game that needed work. But I think as he matured so did his game. I also believe that the relationship he has with the organization has helped him. He trusts us. We asked him to change his game a little and he bought in completely. He is now very very physical, has learned to be a great penalty killer, is a weapon on the Power Play and is a guy I rely on in the defensive zone. Those are parts of his game that he maybe wasn’t forced to do before. But he has come here and worked so incredibly hard both on and off the ice to improve. I am so proud of him as a person. Just a wonderful kid that craves knowledge. Always reading, always wanting to get more knowledgeable about whatever the topic is, space, science, history, habit building you name it. Just a curious kid that works hard at everything and you are seeing that hard work pay off with his production on the ice. He is not only going to be a very successful division 1 hockey player he is going to be an extremely successful person.”

As for what Young wants to accomplish with the Generals in his final games of junior hockey. He still sees potential in a group looking to extend its win streak to five this weekend in their two game road trip to Danbury. As he said of this group, featuring a team that has spent most of its year on the road “I think we could do something special this year.”

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Here come the Generals: Northeast earns home sweep with 5-1 win over Danbury

Photo Credit-Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

Every coach we have interviewed has articulated a version of what Northeast Generals Head Coach Bryan Erikson came right out and said tonight, of his general coaching philosophy.

“All of the blame should go to me and all the credit should go to the players.”

Tonight, there was plenty of credit to go around for all as Erikson’s group, the Northeast Generals look to be trending in the right direction. They earned a 5-1 win tonight over the Junior Hat Tricks of Danbury in a needed win to get back into the playoff hunt. AIC recruit Hugo Haas finished with 34 saves on 35 shots faced. He kept his group in the game, even making 16 saves in a sterling third period to secure the win. As Erikson said about Hugo’s play,” there’s the Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings in the building and hopefully they like what they saw. “Haas was, as his head coach said ” in control” all night, and the only goal he conceded came on a net-front deflection on the power play. After that, the Junior Hat Tricks could not solve the Opava, Czech Republic native’s abilities in net.

As to the players in front of Haas, tonight’s result kind of dovetailed with Erikson, and his staff’s mission to help get players on their last year of junior hockey a commitment in the college ranks. The staff is currently working to get its scoring leader Jonathan Young a Division One scholarship, and is running the #CommitJYoug hashtag on Twitter to highlight his achievements. Tonight, he had his 14th goal of the campaign, and was plus two, as the Generals did not give up a goal at even strength. He plays a defensively responsible game, and brings some physical power to his game that will play well initially on a bottom six role next season at the next level. His path in junior hockey, including winning the Dineen Cup with the Islanders Hockey Club at the NCDC level of the USPHL, has been a long and winding one. His resolve to keep focusing, as Erikson likes to do ” on the next game.” is a reason why Young stands on the cusp of playing at the next level.

Multiple other uncommitted players scored tonight. Ricky Boysen put home his third goal in two games, and has steadily provided the Generals another two way presence that focuses on consistent development. The Generals had five different goal scorers tonight, and Boysen’s line was one of the more noticeable groups on the ice tonight.

Quietly, from the back end, Alexander Tertyshny put up two assists and played the brand of hockey AIC will soon see. He played an intelligent game, and helped Haas by leading his defense in limiting shot quality, if not the volume of them.

Going forward, Erikson credits the hire of Matt Dibble as the General Manager for the suceess of the Generals as of late. Dibble’s additions to the team, combined with the striaght forward philosophy of his group, and the buy in of the players for the recent sucess of the team. While they have a way to go in order to make the playoffs, Erikson sees the bigger picture. He runs a program built around good people. As Erikson said, his” focus is on us getting better everyday…. my job is to get kids to be really good college hockey players and really good people.. I want them to be impact people.”

The impact people in this program, that have finally had a home weekend after playing their last 32 games on the road, combined with its leadership are how this group will progress the rest of the season. If the Generals stick to what works for them, playing a relentless puck-hunting style of offense with a sound system on the back end, they still have time to make things interesting in their division. The next chance to do so comes on the road April 9 against the same Danbury team.

The Northeast Generals head to their next goal after an 8-3 win

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy- Patrick Garriepy Photography

The Northeast Generals of the North American Hockey League have to elevate their game. They are on the outside looking in for a spot in the Robertson Cup playoffs this spring, and have begun to elevate their game to a playoff level. A team that played 27 straight games on the road, finally got to play in front of a small home crowd at the New England Sports Village against another battling team, the Danbury Junior Hat Tricks 8-3.

For Generals Head Coach Bryan Erikson, the line with Jonathan Young on it was his best. David Andreychuck put home two goals, Johnathan Young also added one, and was, for Erikson the best player on the ice. The team is currently running a #CommitJYoung campaign to implore the Division One schools in need of a power forward with the ability to put up points in bunches. He lived up to the campaign tonight, and has plenty of accolades in his NAHL career to merit more consideration.

As Erikson said ” To me Jonathan Young was the best player on the ice. And he has been for a while. He plays so hard every shift, hits, kills penalties, and scores. He is a great skater has an NHL shot. We feel we have a few D1 kids on this roster that aren’t committed but Jonathan Young is an absolute stud that is not only a D1 hockey player but a very GOOD D1 hockey player. Our kids have success at the next level that is proven. He will be no exception.”

Of his team, they have begun to gel recently towards the end of their time playing 27 road games in a row before returning home. They have come back a couple of times as they did tonight, going 2-0 down before putting home six unanswered goals on the road to their 8-3 win.

Erikson kept it simple and said ” I just think we are becoming more mentally tough. It’s been a long year with road game after road game. Guys are still bought in completely and we just focus on the next goal. That is all we ever talk about. The next goal.”

Of Rickey Boysen and Andreychuck, the Generals with two goals, Erikson said ” Ricky Boysen has been great for me for 2 years. Had a short handed goal and a power play goal , just an absolute gamer. Battled injuries this year and just keeps going. Finishes hit, blocks shots, you name it he does it. David Andreychuk is a very very good hockey player. Smooth, works hard, tons of skill and great vision.”

For tomorrow, the Generals will have some things to work on, these are areas of improvement the staff will focus on, according to Erikson who said of what needs to improve,” Discipline. We need to be more disciplined in our forecheck, in the D zone and in the neutral zone. I thought we were sloppy. I think we need to focus on the small things and we will have success. We have 7 out of 8 points in our last 4 games. Trending in the right direction and just need to stay focused on the little things.”

Regardless of the improvements, which Erikson and his staff will stress, the growing strength of this team is clear. Saying that a group is focused only on the next goal is often considered a cliché. Erikson’s group has bought into that in a year with so many things going on, in the middle of the pandemic. They are all truly focused on the next goal, which is beating Danbury tomorrow night.

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