The Northeast Generals had an eventful November, the first half of the month featuring seven games, while the back half saw the team sign eight players to tenders.
The month actually started with Northeast adding the NA3HL’s leading scorer, Koyle Bankauskas, who so happened to be playing on the Generals’ NA3HL team. They tendered him for the 2020-21 season shortly after his call-up and quickly inserted him into their lineup.
Bankauskas was at or near the top of the NA3HL in nearly every statistical category at the time of his call up, ranking first with 26 goals and 51 points and second with 25 assists. This was the second season in the Northeast Generals organization and he was on pace to completely shatter his numbers from a year ago, when he scored 37 goals and added 25 assists in 47 games. His 51 points this season came in just 16 games.
Bankauskas joined a Generals team looking for an offensive spark. They had just dropped two-of-three to the Johnstown Tomahawks and were looking for more scoring depth. Northeast dropped a pair of games to Midwest Division leader Kenai River Brown Bears, but then settled in and won three of their next five games before taking a break for Thanksgiving.
Heading into the Thanksgiving break, the Generals are 10-12-1-1 and sit fifth in the East Division. Things are starting to come together, though, for a team that features many young, but talented pieces. And it will be the second half of the season, with some additional roster moves most likely to come, as is with every junior team this time of year, that will determine the Generals’ place in the playoff picture.
Generals GM and Head Coach Bryan Erikson was busy in the back half of the month, bringing his tender total to eight by November 30th. In addition to Bankauskas, the Generals tendered defenseman Adam Smith, the first player to be tendered from their new U18 NAPHL team, local standout Anthony Messuri, another U18 product John Mussella, Jonny Hammel, Connor Bradford, Caeden Phelps, and JR Perdion.
Erikson has gotten to know each of the above eight players well through the recruiting process, some for as long as three years. A few of the players have come up through the Lovell Hockey program, as mentioned above a couple are part of the Generals’ new U18 team, and others have come by way of players who came before them telling coaches of another prospect to look out for.
Those players won’t impact the 2019-20 Generals, but look for them to make a name for themselves heading into next season.