Bremerton, WA – As the Northern Pacific Hockey League inches closer to the playoffs, the race for the final playoff spot is beginning to heat up. The Tri-City Outlaws entered into tonight’s game with a three-point lead over the West Sound Warriors for the league’s final playoff spot. During the first period, the Outlaws were able to come out and score a sizable lead as Adam Shimamoto buried two goals while Payton Okon scored one. These goals pushed the Outlaws to a 3 – 0 lead over the Warriors at the end of the first period.
For the second period, the Outlaws were able to double the team’s lead as they went on to record another three-goal period. Shimamoto locked in the hat trick during the second period as he scored his third goal of the night. But, before the period came to an end, the Warriors would respond with a goal of their own. At the second intermission, the Outlaws had a 6 – 1 lead over the Warriors.
During the final period of the game, both teams were able to score one goal apiece. For the Warriors, it was Chris Mitchell locating the back of the net, while Okon scored his second goal of the night for the Outlaws. The Outlaws were able to beat the Warriors tonight, 7 – 2.
Matt Ferris, the Warriors’ head coach, discussed his thoughts about tonight’s game. Ferris said, “we played in their end for a good majority of the time, but they capitalized on their chances and we didn’t. The Outlaws’ goalie played very well tonight, but it came down to us not scoring when we needed to and them scoring when they needed to.”
Geno McCue, the Outlaws’ head coach, also shared his thoughts about tonight’s game. McCue stated, “we had some highs and lows tonight. For this game, we had a bigger bench than what we are accustomed to playing with. But again, we did a lot of good things and we have some things that we need to continue to work on. It was a big two points for us tonight.”
The Warriors (6-26-1-1, 14 points) will travel to the Toyota Arena in Kennewick, Washington, to conclude this two-game series against the Outlaws (9-23-1-0, 19 points). This game is scheduled to start at 7:35 pm (PST).
(TRI) Adam Shimamoto (F) – three goals and two assists
(TRI) Jimmy Grosklaus (G) – 33 saves on 35 shots faced, win
Eugene, OR – The Bellingham Blazers and Eugene Generals took to the ice tonight for the teams’ second to last match up of the regular season. The winner of this series will likely clinch home ice as both of these teams will meet again for postseason play. In the first period, the Blazers were able to score the period’s only goal. On this goal, RJ Oki was able to beat the Generals’ goalie, Christopher Pritchard, for the score.
During the second period, the Blazers were able to come out and score two quick back-to-back goals. Both of these goals were scored by Simeon Smith. But before the period came to an end, the Generals were able to score their first goal of the night on a power play opportunity. Isaac Vincent was able to find the back of net to cut the Blazers’ lead to 3 – 1.
After starting the third period up 3 – 1, the Blazers were able to build on their lead while holding the Generals scoreless for the final 20 minutes of the game. Brett Hansen scored the period’s lone goal as the Blazers went on to beat the Generals 4 – 1.
Justin Kern, the Generals’ head coach, commented on tonight’s game. Kern stated, “we had a pretty decent effort tonight. But sometimes our guys just lack the effort and determination to get to the puck first. I tell them time and time again that if you possess the puck you win hockey games. Tonight, we wanted to let them get the puck first and go from there.”
Phil Carron, the Blazers’ assistant coach, shared his thoughts about tonight’s game. He said, “I thought our guys stuck to the plan for most of the game tonight. They worked hard, had a good effort, and played their hearts out tonight.”
The Generals (21-11-0-1, 43 points) and Blazers (26-8-1-0, 53 points) will conclude this two-game series tomorrow night. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:35 pm (PST) at The Rink Exchange in Eugene, Oregon.
(BEL) Simeon Smith (F) – two goals
(BEL) Christopher Alexakis (G) – 27 saves on 28 shots faced, win
Tomorrow, tune in to the NPHL’s website after the conclusion of the final game for a recap.
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