2003 - 2004
February 11, 2004
Hurting Generals get home win vs. Express
Generals - 3
Express - 2
BY KEITH TOLBERT
Special to the News & Record
GREENSBORO - Injuries to key players keep haunting the Greensboro Generals, but somehow they keep finding replacements. And more importantly, they keep winning.
With rookie defensive phenom Tom Reimann dressed in street clothes, the Generals held the Roanoke Express in check just enough to get a 3-2 overtime win and allowed them to keep pace with the leaders in the ECHL's Southern Division. It was the third win in the last four games for the Generals.
"The big difference is we are starting to focus on defense," said left-winger Mike Bayrack, 2 who scored two goals and leads the team with 24. "We're just trying to keep them in our end."
With so few home games left, Generals coach Rick Adduono knows that every win in Greensboro is crucial.
"It's a big win for us because for some reason, we've been going back and forth with one-goal games at home," Adduono said. "It's a tough league. It's not like it's a big gap between the talent on each of these teams."
Adduono's point wouldn't be lost on Southern Division leader Columbia, which dropped a 6-4 decision to last place Greenville on Tuesday night. The Inferno's loss and the Generals victory left Greensboro alone in second place, six points out of first.
The victory comes just days after the Generals played three road games in four days, winning two of those games. Generals coach Rick Adduono said although Bayrack didn't go on the road trip because of an injury, the team still found a way to be competitive.
"The last two road trips were big turning points for us," Adduono said. "We had to win to stay competitive and we did that. You have to have the lesser known players step up when your high-profile guys are out."
Adduono admitted that his players were tired on Tuesday morning, but they still found a way to get the win. He was giving them some rest today in preparation for Thursday's home game against Atlantic City.
"They were very tired, not that we are using that as an excuse," Adduono said. "It's getting to that point of the year where some people need ice time, but a lot of people don't."
Bayrack scored the game's first goal about halfway through the first period. He received a great pass from Kurt Drummond and skated hard into the crease. Although his shot was stopped by Roanoke netminder Jason Wolfe, the rebound came out high right back to Bayrack, who knocked it in.
The second goal for Bayrack was a little more difficult. He had to fight off a defender and muscle the puck past Wolfe for the 2-0 lead. Bayrack said his increased scoring has come at the advice of his captain, Mark Turner.
"He said that I needed to quit worrying about everything else and focus on myself and my game," Bayrack said. "I'm just trying to do the best with the chances I am given. I'm trying to adapt to the situation."
The Generals gave up the lead in the second period when the Express scored two unanswered goals to knot the game at 2-2.
Greensboro goaltender Jamie Hodson preserved the tie with a sprawling glove save of a shot with just two seconds to go in the second period.
After a scoreless third period, Eric Fortier got free on a long pass from Drummond and skated right in front of the net to stick in the game winner with 3:09 to play in the over-time session.
Generals - 3
Express - 2
Site: Greensboro Coliseum
Why the Generals won: Despite some weariness and the lack of depth because of injuries, the Generals played a smart defensive game and goalie Jamie Hodson stopped 33 shots. They also got two crucial goals from team leader Mike Bayrack.
Stars: Greensboro - Mike Bayrack, two goals; Kurt Drummond, three assists; Jamie Hodson, 33 saves.
The play: With 3:02 to play in the overtime period, Drummond found a wide-open Eric Fortier deep in the left corner. After receiving the pass, Fattier was left unchecked and skated right to the net and went high with the game winner.
What they said: "We have a great group of guys. It's easier to play when you're having fun." - Mike Bayrack, Generals left-winger
Records: Greensboro 29-20-1. Roanoke 22-21-6