2003 - 2004
March 28, 2004
Generals get set for final push to playoffs
With four games left in the regular season, Greensboro has its roster in order.
BY LARRY KEECH
GREENSBORO - The time has come when Greensboro Generals coach Rick Adduono can give his trusty cell phone a bit of a rest after 10 months of nonstop activity.
There are no more deals to be swung, at least as far as professional hockey players are concerned, until the offseason.
With one week and four games left in the ECHL's regular-season schedule, it's up to Adduono's present roster to nail down a playoff berth, then pursue a Kelly Cup championship.
The week will begin with a rare Sunday afternoon game today at 4 p.m. against the Florida Everblades, another Southern Division playoff contender.
Although it's a time of year when Adduono always is on edge, he seems pleased about the health and well-being of his present squad.
"It's a team that's on track to win its way into the playoffs," Adduono said. "Now it's up to everyone to do his job to the best of his ability. If that happens, we can keep winning."
There have been several favorable recent developments that have improved Adduono's outlook.
Because playoff hopes begin and end in the goal, Adduono is excited about the presence of Jamie Hodson and Daniel Berthiaume, whom he calls "the two best goaltenders in the league."
Although Hodson and Berthiaume aren't at the top of the ECHL's statistical charts for goalies, the two veterans are proven quantities. Hodson, whose goals against average is well under the 3.00 mark, has started most recent games. The 39-year-old Berthiaume starred in the Generals' stretch drive last year and carried the team earlier this season.
"Both of them have a good understanding of the situation and believe in each other's abilities," Adduono said.
Injuries and a dearth of physicality have been sore points for the Generals' defense this season, but Adduono believes a more favorable balance was struck when the Bakersfield Condors sent Randy Perry to Greensboro in exchange for rookie Tom Reimann.
"Randy Perry is a sound, basic defender who seldom gets beaten," Adduono said. "He's a good fit for us."
Perry joins a unit that includes another strong, physical defender in Kevin Grimes, plus policeman Alex Andreyev and scoring threats Geno Parrish and Kurt Drummond. A sixth defenseman, Dave LoPresti, is listed as day-to-day after coming off the 30-day injured reserve list, and Likit Andersson's broken thumb is expected to keep him off the ice until a possible second playoff series. Versatile forward Matt Turek could fill in on the back line if needed.
The recent return of 6-foot-5, 235-pound forward Pete Gardiner from an injury has bolstered the Generals' already imposing firepower. Captain Mark Turner, Mike Bayrack, Matt Elich and Eric Fortier are enjoying outstanding seasons.
Contact Larry Keech at 373-7080 or email@example.com