FLINT — The Junior Generals shook off a painful defeat Saturday night and stormed back Sunday to score a narrow victory in their weekend series with the Chicago Hitmen.
Flint lost Saturday’s game, 3-2, when Chicago scored two powerplay goals in the last 2:39 at Iceland Arena. Less than 17 hours later, the Generals retaliated with a 4-2 victory over one of the top contenders in the NA3HL. The Hitmen are tied for fourth place, three points out of first.
The Generals led Saturday’s game twice, first on Charles Chamberlain’s powerplay goal at 5:52 of the first period on assists from Caleb O’Brien and Goodrich’s Joe McAuliffe. Chicago tied it, 1-1, on a short-handed goal just 3:14 into the second period, but Flint regained a 2-1 lead at 18:05 on Warren Carter’s goal off passes from Chamberlain and Austin Giblin.
It was still 2-1 with less than three minutes to go in the game, but Flint penalties at 16:03 and 17:04 gave Chicago a 5-on-3 advantage, and the Hitmen cashed in with the tying goal at 17:21. Still on a powerplay at 18:41, Chicago netted the winning goal.
The Generals got back on their skates Sunday and gutted out the victory despite getting outshot, 44-38. Chamberlain again started the scoring on a powerplay goal assisted by O’Brien and Carter at 3:45 of the second period. Swartz Creek’s Andrew Lay made it 2-0 at 7:29 on passes from O’Brien and Shane Totten. Lay hit the 50-point mark for the season with his 23rd goal to stand fifth in the league scoring race.
Chicago cut it to 2-1 on a powerplay goal at 12:52, but Flint restored its two-goal lead with 5:12 left in the game on Giblin’s powerplay goal off passes from Chamberlain and Carter. The Hitmen got back within 3-2 on a powerplay goal with 40 seconds left, but Chamberlain’s empty-net goal with six seconds left on assists by Derek Kessler and Peter Emery sealed the win. Emery had 42 saves in goal.
Chicago, which had an assistant coach ejected for abuse of officials on Saturday, picked up gross misconduct and abuse of officials game misconduct penalties in the final two seconds Sunday.
Flint, 14-20-0-2, is off this weekend and will play a home-and-home series with the Metro Jets on Feb. 12-13. The Generals will host the the Jets at 7:20 p.m. on Feb. 12 and will play at Lakeland Ice on Sunday, Feb. 13.