2003 - 2004
November 21, 2003
Generals find 'special' way to win
Generals 4, Sea Wolves 3
BY LARRY KEECH
GREENSBORO - Unlike their football coaching counterparts, hockey coaches don't talk about the importance of special teams play very often.
Thursday night was an exception for the Greensboro Generals' Rick Adduono, whose offensive power play and defensive penalty killer units were almost entirely responsible for a 4-3 ECHL win over the visiting Mississippi Sea Wolves.
"Did we get all four of our goals on power plays?" Adduono inquired after a game that generated a lot of noise from a smallish Greensboro Coliseum crowd of 2,303. "Once in a while, something like that will break your way."
After the Generals converted four of their seven power play opportunities, the penalty killers stopped one of the league's best power-play teams for several nervous, short-handed minutes down the stretch.
After falling behind early in the final period, Greensboro capitalized on a tripping penalty against defenseman Jim Baxter, who had scored two earlier goals for the visitors. At the time, Greensboro defenseman Kurt Drummond was sidelined by a five-minute spearing violation along with a game misconduct penalty.
Barely 20 seconds after Baxter went out, Generals forward Sam Ftorek slipped the puck past Sea Wolves goalie Greg Gardner with 5:16 left. But then a skirmish behind the goal resulted in roughing penalties against two Generals and one Mississippi player.
That left Greensboro playing three-on-five, then three-on-four for several minutes.
"In situations like that, we go to a box-and-one' defense around the goal with our penalty killers crouching as low as possible to prevent rebound goals," Adduono said. "And Daniel Berthiaume is our ace in the hole."
The Generals goalie found a way to step every shot that penetrated the defense during the flurry until his team regained full strength, and Mississippi pulled Gardner out of the net for the last 90 seconds.
Adduono was alternating five veteran players on the penalty-killing unit - Ftorek, Mark Turner, Matt Turek, Mike Bayrack and Joel Irwin. Ftorek and Turner also were prominent on the power play unit.
"We made an adjustment on our power play by moving Ftorek from the point down to the wing to get him more involved, and it paid off tonight," Adduono said.
Earlier in the game, Berthiaume found himself on the wrong end of a couple of goals that promised to help Mississippi center Louis Dumont make ECHL history.
Dumont beat Berthiaume with a straight-on shot to pass former Generals player Darryl Noren as the No. 2 scorer in ECHL history. Dumont's assist on a later goal left him only two points behind Rod Taylor, the league's all-time leading scorer. But Berthiaume bounced back to make almost half of his 30 saves in the third period, often against the power play.
Contact Larry Keech at 373-7080 or email@example.com
Generals - 4
Sea Wolves - 3
Site: Greensboro Coliseum.
Why the Generals won: Special teams. The power-play unit on offense and the penalty killers on defense. The Generals converted 4 of 7 power play chances, accounting for all their goals. The penalty killers stopped Mississippi's efficient power play during a three-minute stretch late in the game.
Three stars: No.3 - Mississippi center Louis Dumont passed former General Darryl Noren to become the ECHL's all-time No.2 scorer with 687 points. No.2 - Generals goalie Daniel Berthiaume held the Sea Wolves at bay down the stretch, when his team was playing shorthanded. No. 1 - Generals defenseman Geno Parrish assisted on three of his team's four goals.
The play: Greensboro's Sam Ftorek beat the Mississippi goalie for the winning goal with less than seven minutes to play.
What they said: "When we have to play shorthanded, Daniel Berthiaume is our ace in the hole." - Rick Adduono, Generals coach.
Records: Greensboro 9-5-0-0. Mississippi 7-5-4-0.