2003 - 2004
February 25, 2004
Generals lose to Inferno in first of four at coliseum
Inferno 5, Generals 3
BY LARRY KEECH
GREENSBORO - What was supposed to be the most significant week of the Greensboro Generals' season got off to an inauspicious start Tuesday night.
The Columbia Inferno solidified their hold on first place in the ECHL's Southern Division by capitalizing on the Generals' mental mistakes on the way to a 5-3 win.
But the hockey team's performance was no more disappointing than the turnout of 2,101 at the Greensboro Coliseum for the kickoff of what management hoped would be a four-game attendance surge in the longest home stand left on the schedule.
After the crushing defeat, Generals coach Rick Adduono's anger gave way to resignation as he lamented the defensive errors that led to each of the visitors' five goals.
"Most of it was basic stuff that showed a lack of commitment and quick thinking on our part," Adduono said.
The opportunistic Inferno took advantage of Greensboro's first two defensive lapses to take a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Jamie Hodson failed to track a shot by Columbia's Barrie Moore from the point on a power play. "Jamie should have had that one, and he knows it," Adduono said.
Inferno right wing Terry Harrison scored the second goal on what Adduono described as "a turnover after we had possession in our zone."
But less than eight minutes had elapsed in the second period when the Generals scored a third straight goal to move ahead 3-2. After Mike Bayrack scored his team-leading 30th goal of the season on a power play, captain Mark Turner scored twice on a second-effort goal and a penalty shot.
"When your leader makes plays like that, it should set your team on fire," Adduono said.
Instead, the rally seemed to lull the Generals to sleep.
By the time the second period ended, Columbia had scored three more goals by Robin Carruthers, Matt Ulwelling and Alexandre Burrows to grab what turned out to be a decisive 5-3 lead.
The Inferno, which outshot the Generals 42-30, shut them down in the final period.
"This game was just as huge for us as it was for Greensboro," said Columbia coach Scott White, who played for the Generals in the early 1990s and was an assistant coach here in 1999-2000.
"Our team could have lost its poise playing on the road after they scored their second goal on a lucky bounce, then added a third on a penalty shot. But our guys just kept working and competing, stayed within the system and regained control of the game."
The outcome boosted Columbia's division lead to nine points Over third-place Greensboro as the season enters its final month.
"Before tonight, we still had a chance to get to first place," Adduono said. "Are we good enough (to contend for the Kelly Cup championship)? I don't know. We have something to prove to ourselves in the last 17 games."
Contact Larry Keech at 373-7080 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Inferno - 5
Generals - 3
Site: Greensboro Coliseum
Why the Generals lost: Defensive lapses in the form of mental errors and turnovers led to all five Columbia goals, including the last three in a 3:40 span near the end of the second period. The Inferno also outshot the Generals by a 42-30 margin.
Three stars: No.3- Mark Turner. The Generals' captain lifted his team to a 3-2 lead with a second-effort goal and a penalty shot. No. 2 - Matt Utwelling. Columbia center contributed a goal and an assist to the winning effort. No. 1 - Barrie Moore. Game's leading scorer had one goal and two assists.
Records: Greensboro 32-22-1. Columbia 34-16-6.