Last weekend, the JR Penguins found a much needed spark against Division rivals, the Flint Jr Generals. With their recent struggles that lead the Jr Penguins to a 4 game losing streak, the team knew they were in for a battle going into enemy territory.
Prior to Saturday night’s game, veteran Trey Muncie told the team “…get your hard hats on and bring your lunch-pails, because we’re going to have to put in some hard work!” In typical Steel City fashion, the Jr Pens did just that. In their previous meetings this season, scoring has gone in favor of the Generals. However, this weekend the Pens kept the Generals off the scoreboard until early in the 3rd. Even then, that goal only seemed to wake up the Pens. At 16:07 of the final frame Bryan Hovanec sprung a stretching Nico Vecchio for a breakaway goal to tie the game and send it to overtime. The winner would eventually come in OT (Vecchio's 2nd).
With the dry spell finally behind them, that goal sent the team off the bench to greet their own net minder, Sean Keating who had a stellar performance in keeping his team close throughout the game while stopping 40 of 41 shots. The Jr Pens left the ice with a much needed 2-1 OT victory.
On Sunday afternoon, the Junior Penguins found themselves in a very familiar spot early in the game when the Generals scored on their first shot on net. However, the team stayed on track in another tight checking and intense game. For the younger Pens, they knew they would have to get their hands dirty in order to stage yet another comeback.
That mentality paid off at the 8:16 mark in the of the first period when Stephen Budkey, a player known for his hard work, forechecking and penalty killing cashed in. While taking a beating standing his ground in front of the General’s cage, he redirected a quick shot from point man Temmur Hannan’s stick. That was all that was needed to bring life back into the Penguin’s bench as both teams would battle through the next two periods before Alex Berardinelli fed a pass to teammate Bryan Hovanec to put home what proved to be the game winner. Sean Keating once again provided some great backstopping in the Pens second 2-1 weekend victory stopping 23 of 24 shots. The Penguins move their record to 8-10-0-1 with those two wins and walk away with a much needed 4 points.
The Pens are hoping to carry some momentum into Cincinnati next weekend when they face-off against the 3HL’s Queen City Steam.