By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The thousands in attendance at the Tribute Communities Centre on Family Day couldn’t have asked for a more story book finish from their Oshawa Generals as they were able to top the North Bay Battalion 5-4 in overtime.
Early on, it seemed things were headed down the road of a low-scoring game, as both teams remained scoreless for the majority of the first period.
However, fans would get a spark of the excitement that was to come when, with less than a minute to go in the period, a pair of North Bay penalties sent the Gens to a late power play. It’s safe to say Oshawa took full advantage.
First, off a set up from captain Jack Studnicka and Domenico Commisso, Allan McShane was able to slam home his 17th of the season to put the Generals up by one. And they didn’t stop there, only 14 seconds later, Studnicka would add one of his own with mere seconds remaining in the period.
The offensive efforts would continue into the second period. With the pair of late goals still fresh in their minds, North Bay came out shooting early in the second period and were able to cut the lead in half only 15 seconds in with a goal from Luke Moncada.
The remaining first half of the second frame would be a physical back and forth, but North Bay would strike again as the period neared the halfway mark to tie the game 2-2.
A few minutes later, penalty trouble would strike again for North Bay, and the puck would find its way onto the stick of the one man on the Gens roster who has proven more efficient at putting the puck in the net this season than the rest of his teammates, Kenny Huether.
Huether would score his team-leading 27th goal on the power play with assistance from McShane and Renars Krastenbergs, and send things to the final frame with Oshawa up 3-2.
Early in the third period, Oshawa was on the hunt for an insurance goal, and they would find it off the stick of Danil Antropov, who would put the puck in the back of the net with help from Commisso and McShane to once again put Oshawa up by two goals.
For the remaining half of the period, things would remain stable for Oshawa, that was, until they found themselves in a little penalty trouble of their own.
With North Bay on the power play, Adam McMaster was able to put one past Kyle Keyser to cut the lead in half.
Unfortunately for Oshawa, that momentum would carry over after the power play, and as time began to wind down, the Battalion were able to even the score late in the third off the stick of Justin Brazeau.
The final goal sealed the score at 4-4 and sent things to OT.
And sticking to the nature of the unpredictable game, and much to the delight of the 5,949 fans inside the TCC, it only took Serron Noel nine seconds into the extra frame to win the game for Oshawa.
Sprung onto a breakaway, Noel pulled a few quick moves that sent North Bay netminder Julian Sime sprawling. With a quick backhand, the puck sailed up and over the reaching goalie and into the back of the net.
The game was a welcome dose of redemption for Oshawa, who lost a 3-2 nail-biter to North Bay two games before. In between the home and home series, Oshawa dominated the Sudbury Wolves on the road 6-0 on Feb. 16.
Now, Gens fans will have to play a bit of the waiting game for their favorite local hockey club to return to the TCC as they hit the road for their next two games in Flint and Saginaw. Oshawa returns home on Feb. 28 to face off against the Mississauga Steelheads.