By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Rebounding from a heartbreaking loss to start the weekend, the Oshawa Generals received a much-needed boost of confidence following commanding wins over a pair of the Ontario Hockey League’s top teams.
On Nov. 24, the Gens collapsed on home ice, squandering a 4-1 lead over the Hamilton Bulldogs and eventually losing 6-5.
However, the club showed its resilience over the remainder of the weekend which saw them ride a wave of offence to defeat the Barrie Colts 7-3 on the road and the Mississauga Steelheads 6-0 at the Tribute Communities Centre on Nov. 26.
“I couldn’t put an exact finger on why we kind of exploded this weekend, but it was nice to see,” said assistant coach Greg Nemisz following Sunday’s win. “I think it was a really big moment for our team.
Captain Jack Studnicka opened the scoring for Oshawa against Mississauga in the first period, with Danil Antropov adding another on the powerplay shortly afterward.
Serron Noel, continuing his rapid pace, managed the only goal of the second period to put the Gens up 3-0. All told, Noel managed eight points in the three weekend games.
Eric Hendeson, Kenny Heuther and Hayden McCool would tally the additional goals.
Goaltender Cole Ceci, who continues to take the majority of time between the pipes in the ongoing absense of starting goaltender Kyle Keyser to injury, stopped all 35 shots he faced in the match for his first OHL shutout. Needless to say, Ceci was thrilled following the game.
“They were just keeping lanes clear,” he says of his teammates. “I was able to see the puck tonight and when I feel like I’m seeing the puck I feel like nothing can get by me.”
While coaches say that Keyser is getting better by the day, there is still no date set for his return. With that said, Ceci notes that he’s getting more accustomed to the role with each passing game.
“Goaltending is really a rhythm thing and once you’re playing a lot you kind of get into that rhythm and feeling comfortable going into every night,” he says.
The victory jumps the Generals into seventh place in the OHL Eastern Conference, improving to 11-13-2-0 and was a boost to the team that has been struggling with injuries and in recent weeks.
“We’re getting healthier by the day here, we’re almost a full line-up and confidence is huge and just coming together as a team,” Nemisz said.
The Generals take to the road next weekend for a trio of games, the first against the London Knights on Dec. 1, the Windsor Spitfires on Dec. 2 and the OHL-leading Sarnia Sting on Dec. 3.