LEWISTON — The L/A Fighting Spirit earned two big points Sunday afternoon in front of 571 fans at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Their 6-0 win over the Northeast Generals kept them within striking distance of the New England Stars for the No. 2 seed in the North American 3 Eastern Hockey League’s Eastern Division. That spot would be worth home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The win puts the Fighting Spirit with 63 points on the season, two points behind the Stars going into their head-to-head game on Saturday in Tyngsboro, Mass., at 3:30 p.m. The Fighting Spirit finish the regular season at home next Sunday against the East Coast Minutemen while the Stars take on the Cape Cod Islanders, the No. 1 seed, also on next Sunday.

“It’s going to come down to that game, it looks like,” Fighting Spirit assistant coach Cam Robichaud said, “assuming we pick up a win against East Coast and assuming (New England) loses to Cape Cod. Whoever wins the (Fighting Spirit)-Stars game will get second place and home ice advantage. That is important for us. We want to be able to give that to the fans who have been coming all year. They deserve to see more games here.”

Robichaud was acting as head coach Sunday while Rod Simmons was attending to a personal matter.

Dylan Vrees, who had four goals on the afternoon and now 29 on the season, knew the team couldn’t look past the Generals.


“We talked about it a little bit,” Vrees said of home ice advantage. “At the end of the day, it’s another team in our league. It’s going to be a battle regardless if they are in the playoffs or not. They want to come out hard and play spoilers. We knew we had to get up for the game and get the two points.”

It was the Generals’ final game of the season. They finished 9-32-3, sixth place in the Eastern Division.

The Fighting Spirit came out on all cylinders in the first period, when they outshot the Generals, 29-2.

After a road win over East Coast late Saturday night, the team arrived back in Lewiston early Sunday morning. Robichaud said it was important to get off to a fast start.

“We had a late game last night where the boards broke and the Zamboni broke and we didn’t get home until 2:30 a.m,” Robichaud said. “We knew we had to get the legs going. We had a good warm-up and got here early for breakfast. We wanted to have a good first period and put away the game in the first. I think we did a good job of that.”

On the eighth shot of the period, Vrees had a breakaway from the neutral zone and slipped the puck in on the backhand past Generals’ goalie Trevor Trudeau 5:55 into the contest. Brett Bittner and Walker Hamilton notched the assists.


Northeast did a good job of keeping most of L/A’s shots from long distance or outside the circles.

The Generals’ best offensive opportunity of the first period came inside of five minutes, when they had a short 5-on-3 power play. Instead, it was the Fighting Spirit who converted. After the first power play ended, Vrees scored his second of the game with 3:35 remaining.

L/A wasn’t done on the Generals’ power play. Alexander Friend scored a shorthanded tally 17 seconds later, with Thomas Puetz notching the assist.

The Vrees-Bittner combination continued to click in the second period. Bittner found Vrees just before the six-minute mark for the hat trick.

With 19 seconds remaining in the period, Bittner notched his third assist of the contest as Vrees put home his fourth goal.

“Bittner and (David) Fish, I  have to thank them, because they put the puck on my stick,” Vrees said. “The puck was finding the back of the net today.”


Fish assisted both tallies in the second period.

Joe Mooney scored the lone goal in the third on the power play with 1:36 remaining in the game. Assists went to Austin Siering and Linder Kenyon.

During second intermission, Robichaud preached the need to stay sharp.

“We are trying to create and maintain good habits leading into playoffs,” he said. “We have a big weekend coming up next weekend playing the Stars to get home ice advantage, and we can’t create bad habits here.

“On top of that, you never know who’s in the stands. I know there’s a school (team) here today who I spoke with before the game. They don’t really care who wins. They are watching a few players and watch their tendencies in what they do with and without the puck. At the end of the day we are playing to move on to that next level.”

The Fighting Spirit were 1 of 8 on the man advantage, while Northeast was 0 of 5.

Marcus Mitchell made 17 saves for the shutout. Trevor Trudeau stopped 56 shots in the loss.

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