2003 - 2004
October 18, 2003
Generals open season with loss
Stingrays 3, Generals 2
BY LARRY KEECH
GREENSBORO - For a long time, the Greensboro Generals' home opener Friday night was everything coach Rick Adduono hoped it would be.
Until the last 8 minutes, when circumstances enabled the visiting South Carolina Stingrays to slip away with a 3-2 victory.
Coached by two former associates who no longer are friends, the Generals and Stingrays kept the Greensboro Coliseum crowd of 7,142 excited and entertained by a tense, tightly played and often combative hockey game.
"It was a great atmosphere for a great game between two good teams," said an unusually tight-lipped Adduono. "You feel 'extra pressure to win and you certainly don't like to lose when it's your home opener."
The Generals' coach was unable to hide his displeasure with an officiating decision that turned out to be a factor in the outcome. With 8:05 left in the third period, Generals center and captain Mark Turner received a five-minute penalty for spearing rookie defenseman Steve Spencer, plus a game misconduct penalty.
Adduono animatedly contested the call, which led to the decisive power play goal by South Carolina's Matt DeRosiers less than a minute later.
"You hate to see that kind of call with the game on the line - a five-minute penalty with less than 10 to play in a tie game," Adduono said. "Officials miss so many things over the course of a season. I didn't see it, and neither did the referee. I know Mark Turner would be the first to admit it if he was guilty."
South Carolina coach Jason Fitzsimmons, who was Adduono's assistant for four years before he succeeded him a year ago, agreed with the call.
"It was an obvious spear, a good call," Fitzsimmons said. "There's no place for that in hockey."
Fitzsimmons complimented DeRosier for the winning shot that beat veteran Greensboro goalkeeper Daniel Berthiaume. "That was an NHL-caliber goal," said the Stingrays coach. "He went high to the glove side against Berthiaume."
DeRosier's goal was the second in 11 power play opportunities for the Stingrays. The Generals scored just once on nine power plays. The two coaches agreed that it was a significant factor in the outcome.
"We need to get better on the power play," Adduono said. "I think we have a number of potential 30-goal scorers on our first two lines, but we need to find the ones with the best hands for the power play."
Observed Fitzsimmons: "This game was about special teams. It came down to who could execute on the power play and penalty kills."
One of the more encouraging facets of the Generals' performance was the play of Tom Reimann, a rookie defenseman from the University of Maine. Reimann, a former forward, scored one of the Generals' goals and assisted on the other.
"Reimann didn't have a good (preseason) camp, and I'd been getting on him pretty hard," Adduono. said. "But tonight he came out and played well."
Reimann admittedly didn't bring the best attitude to town. "I came in here with a chip on my shoulder because some of my friends are playing in the AHL, and I'm not," he said. "But I've put that behind me."
At the end of the night, it was the competitive Adduono who had a bigger chip on his shoulder.
Contact Larry Keech at 373-7080 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stingrays - 3
Generals - 2
Site: Greensboro Coliseum.
Why the Generals lost: A five-minute spearing penalty against center and captain Mark Turner led to the game-winning power play goal by the Stingrays' Matt DeRosiers.
Three stars: No. 3, - South Carolina goalie Kirk Daubenspeck stopped the Generals down the stretch and recorded 29 saves; No. 2 - Generals rookie defenseman Tom Reimann scored one goal and assisted on the other; No. 1 - DeRosiers' goal earned him the nod over rookie teammate Kevin Spiewak, who matched Reimann's totals.
The play: DeRosiers' game winner beat Generals goalie Daniel Berthiaume high on the glove side.
What they said: "We only made four or five mistakes, but two penalties were critical because they scored on both." - Rick Adduono, Generals coach.
Records: Greensboro 0-1-0-0. South Carolina 1-0-0-0.