The NHL 20 Northern Arena 2v2 Cup has hit its second week and things are heating up. Teams have begun to assert themselves in each Conference, to try and earn a spot in the playoffs. With over $5,000 on the line, the games have gotten fierce and rivalries fiercer.
Let’s take a look at all of the action from week 2 of the Northern Arena 2v2 Cup.
Chuckin’ knucks and scorin’ pucks: New Jersey v.s. Buffalo
This seemed like a one-sided match up from a look at the standings. The New Jersey Devils came into this game hungry. Scott “Henreek” Bumbaco and goalie Kyle “HOL7BY” Fernberg had yet to find a single win in the Northern Arena 2v2 Cup, and were looking to change their luck. The two had battled through some narrow losses and a few blowouts. The Devils needed to win big against a tough opponent.
But Buffalo wasn’t going to give New Jersey any freebies. Carson “CoreyPerry” Bellaire and Darcy “DKuemps” Kuemper were hot in the first week of NHL 20 Cup action. The Sabres had pulled off some big wins in the first week to launch them to 4th in the East.
A win over last place New Jersey would be another step forward in the standings.
The broadcast was set to watch the two teams go at it. The puck was dropped when all of a sudden, this happened.
Did you miss the 1st second of the game between New Jersey (@Henreeek @H0L7BY) vs Buffalo (@coreyperry1 @dkuemps35)? This is the beauty of some 2v2 action in our EA NHL Cup presented by @XboxCanada. @GINXCanada @EASPORTSNHL #NHLCup pic.twitter.com/cYxhGvWSEM
— Northern Arena (@NorthernArena) May 24, 2020
With the boxing match over, it was finally time to play hockey. The Devils and Sabres kept things intense with plenty of scoring chances. A huge hit on Jesper Bratt against the boards saw the Sabres lose star D-man Rasmus Ristolainen to a game misconduct call. With their star defenseman gone, things looked trickier for Bellaire and Kuemper. The Sabres wouldn’t let the ensuing penalty shake them, however. Bellaire sniped a quick shorthanded goal past Fernberg to get the first goal of the game.
The Devils put pressure on Kuemper in the second, and found the back of the net after several good attempts. But the Sabres struck back instantly when a Fernberg save attempt just crossed the line to make it 2-1. Buffalo would make it 3-1 with an early one timer to start the third period. Buffalo crashed the net and fired shot after shot on Fernberg until finally the fourth and fifth goals snuck in. Bellaire piled on with the sixth goal of the night for the Sabres.
With three minutes left, Bumbaco sniped three quick goals past Kuemper to close the gap. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be enough to catch up to the Sabres’ lead. Buffalo would keep their hot streak alive while New Jersey would have to look for their first win of the season elsewhere.
Northern Arena 2v2 Cup: Tampa Bay v.s. Washington
Tampa Bay and Washington was expected to be one of the best games of the weekend. Harley “Sitful” Sitko and Jon “Jonlul” F looked to gain some distance on several teams nipping at their heels. The pair had found themselves in the top eight in the East already. With two weeks left, they would have to keep winning to stay afloat.
One of the teams chasing them was the Washington Capitals. Josh “JoshFearless” D’Eri and Gregory “HGSparty” Langseth sat in the middle of the pack looking into the top eight spots.
The Caps needed to come up big if they wanted to close the ever widening gap to a playoff spot.
The puck dropped and it didn’t take long for Tampa to assert themselves. Sitko crashed the net and the puck trickled through Langseth’s five hole to give the Lightning an early lead. The shot wouldn’t be registered in the stats column, giving Sitko a rare one goal scored on absolutely zero shots.
D’Eri kept the heat on and was rewarded when a one timer whizzed by Jon F to tie things up. Both goalies kept things exciting, with one-timer after one-timer blocked to keep the score at one a piece going into the second.
D’Eri would find the go ahead goal after cycling around the Tampa zone and burying a juicy rebound. A beautiful back hand pass to one timer gave the Caps a 3-1 lead over the Lightning. With the minutes ticking away, Sitko struggled to find a shot through most of the second period. However, a late power play would translate into a late goal for Tampa, cutting the lead to one and giving Sitko his first shot on net.
D’Eri would pepper Jon F with shots, but F stood on his head to keep the Lightning in the game. A beautiful cross crease pass would hit the twine to tie things up at three. Sitko would strike again minutes later to get the go ahead.
Despite four Caps players hanging off of him, Sitko split the D and snapped a tight angle snipe past Langseth. A magical comeback win for the Lightning with four goals scored on only three shots. To quote play-by-play caster Nicco Cardarelli, the win was certainly “crazier than a cereal sandwich.”
Dallas plays the Blues
The broadcast was looking at a huge tilt in the West on the second play day of Week 2. Northern Arena 1v1 Cup runner up Matthew “YungGren” Grenier and Joe “ShutTheGate” Espy were looking to keep their perfect record intact going into this match up. The pair had gone undefeated through the first week of play, and showed no signs of slowing. Dallas was in the hunt for a perfect regular season, looking to match what Justin “Regs” Reguly had pulled off in the first Northern Arena Cup.
But the Stars would have to go through the St. Louis Blues to get there. The Blues had worked their way up the chain to the top 8 in the West. Eric “Fisher” Fisher and netminder Charles “Foote” Foote were looking to play spoiler to a Dallas squad that looked unstoppable.
The Blues would need to grind hard to pull off an upset over Dallas.
Fisher and the Blues struck first against Grenier and Espy late in the period. A huge rebound off Espy gave Fisher a one timer opportunity and he delivered. The period ran down to the final minute before Grenier to responded. A fast wrap around goal from behind the net caught Foote off guard, and gave the Stars the tying goal going into the second.
The Blues found the go-ahead goal halfway through when Fisher sped past the Stars defense to drill one by Espy. Grenier answered back immediately with a wrist shot off the faceoff that blew past Foote.
A penalty in the dying seconds of the second period would prove costly for the Stars. Fisher skated right through the middle on the man advantage, and snapped one past Espy to regain his lead. With less than five left, the Blue net a fourth goal to pull ahead 4-2 over the Stars.
But Grenier wasn’t going to let this one go that easily. He sniped his third a minute later to cut the lead to one. A minute after that, he crashed the net to force one past Foote and tie the game. While it looked like a clear case of goaltender interference, the goal would stand and push this to overtime.
Things looked dark for the Blues, with a penalty to kill to start OT. Foote kept his cool and held strong against Grenier on the attack. The Blues rushed up the ice, and in the chaos managed to draw a strange penalty shot call. Fisher went in on the AI goaltender, and the computer didn’t stand a chance.
Northern Arena NHL 20 2v2 Cup action continues
We’ve hit the halfway point with only two weeks left in the NHL 20 Northern Arena 2v2 Cup. Be sure to stay tuned in each week as teams jockey for those final playoff spots and their share of $5,000.
Join the live stream every week on the Northern Arena Twitch stream or on the official Xbox Canada Mixer stream. And stick around with SQUAD for more highlights, interviews and coverage as the NHL 20 Cup goes into its third week.