The Northern Arena NHL 20 Cup finals recap continues! The whole NHL 20 Cup season came down to this nail biting best-of-three series. Matthew “YungGren” Grenier and the Dallas Stars. David “JR Pens” Roebuck and the Pittsburgh Penguins. $3,000, the NHL 20 Cup title and bragging rights on the line.
Here’s the first ever Northern Arena NHL 20 Cup finals recap.
Game 1: Stars v.s. Penguins
This game started off slower than the Cup conference finals for these two. Roebuck managed to find two power plays off of rare penalty calls against Grenier. The Stars held strong on the penalty kill for the most part, even getting a shorthanded breakaway opportunity that was robbed by Penguins’ goalie Matt Murray. But Roebuck marched back up the ice for a power play goal late in the period, to go up 1-0.
Grenier opened up the second with another penalty from a poke check off the opening faceoff. Another shorthanded Stars breakaway was broken up by Roebuck to keep his lead secure, but the Pens couldn’t capitalize on their third power play. When Grenier returned to five-on-five hockey, he found the back of the net on an unreal goal from a tight angle to square things up at one. The breakaway chances kept coming for Grenier, but Murray made big save after big save. A cross-crease one-timer let Roebuck find the back of the net to get the go-ahead goal with two minutes left in the second period.
Three minutes in Roebuck found another one-timer opportunity and cashed in big time, jumping his lead to 3-1. Grenier and the Stars kept the heat on Roebuck in his zone for most of the third, with scoring chances left and right, but couldn’t sneak anything past Murray. Roebuck held on to a 3-1 lead and was one game away from being crowned the Northern Arena NHL 20 Cup champion.
Game 2: Stars v.s. Penguins
Gren bounced back quick and took control early with the first goal of Game 2. But he couldn’t shake Roebuck who managed to sneak one past the Stars netminder to tie things up at one goal each. Both teams had fantastic chances throughout, but kept the other at bay for a 1-1 scoreline going into the second.
The chances continued for the Stars after a scary pinballing puck nearly found it’s way into the Penguins’ net. Roebuck found the first goal of the second to take the reins at 2-1, before having them wrenched from him with the immediate answer from Grenier to tie the game. An Alexander Radulov one-timer gave Grenier his lead back, and a quick followup gave him the insurance goal. Roebuck nearly cut the lead to one with a missed cross crease shot, as the final seconds ticked down in the period.
Five minutes into the third, Grenier and the stars extended the lead to three. Roebuck couldn’t capitalize on several Stars penalties, and had to deal with shorthanded breakaway after shorthanded breakaway from Grenier. Roebuck and the Pens managed to snag a third goal late, but couldn’t catch up to Grenier’s second period dominance. This one would have to go the distance.
Game 3: Stars v.s. Penguins
With $3,000 on the line, both Grenier and Roebuck had to be running at 110% in Game 3. The Stars kept the pressure on early, with Murray keeping them away from that sweet go-ahead goal. This gave the Pens the chance to open up the scoring halfway through the first. But a one-handed tuck off a beautiful breakaway chance seconds later had Grenier keeping Roebuck in check. The two kept things tense with a 1-1 scoreline going into the second period.
Grenier broke the second period scoring drought halfway through the period. A Stars’ penalty gave Roebuck the perfect chance to tie it all up only minutes later, keeping the scoreline tight. A huge save by Stars’ goalie Ben Bishop kept Roebuck from getting the go-ahead goal with less than a minute left. The Penguins and Stars went into the third and final period of the NHL 20 Cup finals deadlocked at 2-2.
The situation continued late into the third period, until Grenier opened things up with a disgusting toe drag to the back hand across the crease. But seconds later Roebuck answered back to keep things tied up at 3-3. The minutes ticked away, and neither team could find the game winner in regulation. The NHL 20 Cup was going to a sudden death overtime decider.
Game 3: Sudden Death overtime
Roebuck was gifted a power play early, but couldn’t capitalize on it despite huge one-timers heading towards the Stars’ net. Nevertheless, he kept the pressure onto Grenier, and a wraparound shot from behind the net was all Roebuck needed. The goal from Evgeni Malkin gave Roebuck and the Penguins the overtime victory, making him the first ever Northern Arena NHL 20 Cup champion!
Victory march of the Penguins
What a wild playoff run from David “JR Pens” Roebuck! Coming into the playoffs in third place, he took down the likes of Josh “HK” Fuss, John “JohnWanye” Wayne, Justin “Regs” Reguly and Matthew “YungGren” Grenier. His Cinderella story run was a fantastic way to end the first Northern Arena NHL 20 Cup finals recap. Thank you to everyone who participated in the first ever Cup and made it as magical as it was.
— Northern Arena (@NorthernArena) May 1, 2020
Be sure to check out the Northern Arena Twitch channel for more NHL 20 Cup action in May as the 2v2 NHL 20 Cup kicks off! Stay tuned to SQUAD for more interviews, coverage and recaps as the NHL 20 Cup action continues in May!