The NHL 20 Cup conference finals recap is here with all of the action from last night. After a night of exciting conference semis match-ups, four teams remained to duke it out for the title of NHL 20 Cup champion.
Justin “Regs” Reguly and David “JR Pens” Roebuck both won their matches to set the stage for a Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins series in the East. Matthew “YungGren” Grenier’s Dallas Stars and Ryan “Bouch” Bouchard’s Nashville Predators rounded out the Western Conference finals matchup.
Here’s a breakdown of last night’s action from the first ever Northern Arena NHL 20 Cup conference finals.
YungGren v.s. Bouch – Western Conference Finals
When Grenier and Bouchard faced off in the regular season, Grenier eked out a 5-4 win over the Preds. With such a close scoreline, fans were expecting a hot series with goals galore from two talented NHL 20 players. They would not be disappointed in the slightest.
Game 1: Stars v.s. Predators
Grenier walked into the first game with smoking hot hands, sniping two past Bouchard to grab a 2-0 lead ten minutes into the first. A defensive error late in the first by Grenier gave the Preds a perfect chance to score, and Bouchard found twine. With a 2-1 scoreline heading into the second, it was looking like another marathon match from these two pros.
But Grenier turned things up a notch in the second period. He got two perfect breakaway opportunities early and capitalized on them. Another two goals left Bouchard looking at a five goal deficit. Bouchard found a goal off of a breakaway rebound to cool off Grenier, and end the scoring in the second period at 6-2.
The Preds kicked the third period off with a quick breakaway snipe to cut Grenier’s lead to three goals. Bouchard had several scoring chances throughout the third, but couldn’t catch up to Grenier. Grenier walked into the second game with a 6-3 victory and the NHL 20 Cup finals in his sights.
Game 2: Stars v.s. Predators
Bouchard didn’t let the hard-fought loss phase him. He swarmed Grenier off the first faceoff and scored less than 30 seconds in. Grenier bounced back late with a tying goal. The seconds ticked down in the first as Grenier caught the Preds off guard with a quick snipe to take the 2-1 lead with 30 seconds left in play.
Bouchard got a beautiful 2-on-0 chance in the Stars’ zone and found the back of the net with Kyle Turris in the second period. A rare misstep by Grenier gifted Bouchard a whole 1:37 of 5-on-3 hockey. Bouchard had solid scoring chances, but the Stars killed off both penalties. Grenier finally had got five men back on the ice, and sniped one by Bouchard to snag a 3-2 lead going into the third period.
The two went up and down the ice, but Bouchard couldn’t find the back of the net in the third. Grenier scored his fourth goal of the game with three minutes remaining to put the nail in Bouchard’s coffin. The Dallas Stars punched their ticket to the NHL 20 Cup finals, but not without an incredibly fierce fight from Bouchard.
Regs v.s. JR Pens – Eastern Conference Finals
David “JR Pens” Roebuck moved on in the East with a 2-0 sweep over John “JohnWayne” Wayne. He faced an undefeated Carolina Hurricanes squad. Justin “Regs” Reguly had been bulletproof throughout the regular season and the playoffs. With one upset already in his books, could Roebuck be the first to take down Reguly and the Canes?
Game 1: Hurricanes v.s. Penguins
Both Roebuck and Reguly came out of the gates swinging in the first period. Roebuck bagged a quick 1-0 lead before Reguly tied things up three minutes in. Roebuck bounced back with two goals to put him up 3-1 less than five minutes in. A Jake Gardiner one-timer brought Reguly back within one going into the second.
Reguly tied things at three goals each early in the second, but Roebuck retook his lead with a massive one-timer; Reguly didn’t let him get comfortable, with the equalizer coming in fast. The Canes and Pens went into the third period with this looking like anyone’s game.
The minutes ticked away in the third as neither Reguly or Roebuck could find the go-ahead. But with five minutes left, Roebuck found a golden opportunity when he caught a deep pass for a breakaway. Evgeni Malkin bagged a hat trick to make things 4-3. A highlight reel save with only 15 seconds left kept the tying goal out of the Pens net. Roebuck had done the impossible and handed Reguly his first loss of the Cup.
Game 2: Hurricanes v.s. Penguins
Game 2 started off much slower than the first. Roebuck potted the first goal halfway through the period, but Regs tied things up minutes later. A failed breakaway still lead to a quick Carolina qoal to give Reguly a 2-1 lead late in the first.
Reguly snagged another goal to grab a 3-1 lead over the Pens off the opening faceoff. Roebuck brought himself back within one halfway through the period and cut into Reguly’s lead. But Reguly found the back of the net again with only 1.1 second left in the second period. He walked into the third period with a ten minute differential in time of attack over Roebuck. The Penguins would really need to turn on the gas to chip away at the Canes’ 4-2 lead.
A failed breakout from the Penguins gave Reguly the perfect opportunity to put a fifth goal on the board for the Canes halfway through the third. Roebuck made a miracle snag to keep a sixth goal off the board after an Eric Staal breakaway chance nearly squeaked through the crease. Big saves from Carolina’s Petr Mrazek kept the Penguins at bay long enough for Reguly to take the match 6-3 over Roebuck.
Game 3: Hurricanes v.s. Penguins
Roebuck shook off the Game 2 loss and sniped the first goal three minutes in. A wide open Andrei Svechnikov in the slot blasted one in to tie the game for the Canes. Roebuck kept the heat on and regained the lead with a goal halfway through the first. Roebuck looked more confidant in this first period, and kept Reguly out of the zone as best as possible to head into the second up 2-1.
Reguly turned up the pressure on the Pens in the second, and had several solid chances in Roebuck’s end of the ice. But Roebuck’s defense play was sharp and kept Reguly from finding the back of the net. The second period of Game 3 ended with plenty of chances but no goals from either side, as Roebuck kept an iron hold on his 2-1 lead.
The floodgates really opened up with the start of the third period. Roebuck opened the scoring fast at the start of the third to take a 3-1 lead two minutes in. Reguly sniped a cross crease goal by Svechinikov to keep himself in the hunt for that last NHL 20 Cup finals slot. Roebuck netted the insurance goal moments later to make things 4-2. That goal would be enough to hold off Reguly in Game 3. Roebuck and the Penguins blew out analyst desk predictions with the 2-1 series victory over Reguly.
NHL 20 Cup conference finals: Stars and Pens pull through
A strong run through the Western Conference playoffs for Grenier. A Cinderella run through the Eastern Conference for Roebuck. With the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins making it through to the NHL 20 Cup finals, only one could be crowned the first ever champion. With $3,000 on the line, Roebuck and Grenier would need to be on top of their games.
Next up, check out the recap of the first ever Northern Arena NHL 20 Cup finals.