The Richmond Generals Elite team entered the first round of the USPHL playoffs as the number one seed in the Southeast Division. Some pundits felt that maybe the Generals may have hurt themselves by finishing in first place because that would mean a first round match up with the Atlanta Junior Kings who were one of the hottest teams in the Elite division coming down the stretch. The Junior Kings actually seemed to have the Generals number during the regular season handing them four of their nine losses, but that was the regular season and we all know that things can change in the playoffs.
In a game that started off flat like the teams were feeling each other out there was only one goal scored in the first and that goal came from Justin Smith who tipped a pass from Brendan Meyer past Atlanta’s Jack Perna at 7:23 of the first. The teams went back and forth in a defensive battle during the second period and it wouldn’t be until 4:51 of the third before another Generals goal found the back of the net. With the Generals on the power play Kevin Pietrucha fed Zac Boulet who gave the Generals the 2-0 lead. At the 12:47 mark of the 3rd Boulet took a defensive outlet pass from Alex Walsh, skated it down the right wing, and scored the final goal of the game. Generals goaltender Ryan Creenan stopped all 18 shots he faced to get the 3-0 shutout victory.
In game two the Generals got right to work when Caden Buttke finished off a series of passes from Matt Dougherty and Jacob Burke to score a power play goal at 6:12 of the first. Less than five minutes later Matt Dougherty took a pass from Benjamin Carlson and broke in on the Atlanta goaltender unobstructed. Matt made it 2-0 Generals. With an Atlanta player in the box Brendan Keaton scored the Generals second power play goal of the first period. The Generals went into the first intermission up 3-0.
In the second period Atlanta came out with a little more desperation and the game turned into more of a grinding defensive affair with lots of big hits and penalties. Chase Rosenberg scored the final goal of the series to make it 4-0 at the 17:48 mark of the second period, and Ryan Creenan once again stopped all of the shots he faced to punch Richmond’s ticket to Boston and the National Championship tournament.