By Jackson Phillips
The Eugene Generals (4-1-0) will travel north on Friday to play the Tri-Cities Outlaws (4-1-1) before coming home on Saturday to have a rematch on the Generals’ ice.
This weekend will mark the first time the two teams have met this season. Tri-Cities was a former member of the Northern Pacific Hockey League before taking a short absence and returning for the 2012-13 season. The Outlaws are one point ahead of the Generals in the standings, and whoever gets the wins this weekend will likely move up the rankings. The Generals are riding a four game winning streak heading into this weekend. Last weekend, Eugene outscored Vancouver 17-3 in two games.
Eugene is currently home to one of the hottest offenses in the league. Zak Johnson, Connor Bambico and Hunter Hartman are each averaging a minimum of two points a game. The Generals have also been showcasing depth at each position this season, as there are just three players on the roster who have yet to register a point.
Eugene has also had solid goaltending thus far into the season. Gabriel Mier y Teran has been the primary player to protect the pipes. Through five games, Mier y Teran has collected a 3-1 record, 2.78 goals against average, and a .922 save percentage. Mier y Teran is not alone in protecting the pipes. The Generals have also had help from Ronald Schwartz and Brett Avery. Colectively, the Generals are averaging 3.00 goals against and a .911 save percentage.
Tri-Cities have two primary scoring threats. Devan Beck has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in six games this season. Beck is accompanied by Riley Ollero in the offensive threat department. Ollero has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in six games this season. This weekend could be a special teams battle. The Generals have a 93.3 percent penalty killing record and a 31.3 percent success record on the power play.
On the other hand, the Outlaws have a 20.0 percent success record on the power play, but have been struggling on the penalty kill with a record of 73.7 percent. Saturday’s home game will be the first Generous Generals game of the season.
The Generals have been on an absolute hot streak this season. After dropping their first game of the season in Vancouver, Eugene has won four straight. Those four wins are by a combined 18 goals, or 4.5 goals per game. This weekend the Generals get their first real challenge, playing one of the other great teams in the league.
The Generals have a 32-17 advantage all-time versus Tri-City and a 25-12 advantage in the regular season.