The Bellingham Blazers' road to the final four just got a lot harder.
The Blazers fell 6-1 to the Flint Junior Generals on Thursday, April 3, to open Bellingham's campaign in the Junior Tier III Hockey National Championships in Simsbury, Conn.
It only took three minutes for the the Generals to score an even-strength goal from Josh Koepplinger. They added one more in the first to put Bellingham in a 2-0 hole.
Little more than a minute into the second period, the Generals added another, making the score 3-0. Zach Koonce scored for Flint six minutes later and Bellingham's hopes of starting the tournament off right seemed doomed.
Bellingham captain Mason Wade's goal 14 minutes into the second gave hope to the Blazers, but the Generals responded with two more goals before the end of the period. Wade's goal was assisted by Sasha Perron.
Wade's goal also gave the Blazers something they didn't accomplish last year: a goal in the first two games of the tourney.
Blazers goaltender Joshua Stone played 56 minutes, 27 seconds and made 33 saves. He let in all six goals. Robert MacDonald played in net for the other 3 minutes, 33 seconds. He saved all five shots he saw.
The Blazers were outshot 44-24 on the night.
Bellingham faces the Northern Cyclones on Friday, April 4. The Cyclones won their first game 6-5 on Thursday.