By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
The Oshawa Generals emerged from another tight weekend schedule with three straight wins.
It was a hard-hitting battle at the Tribute Communities Centre on Oct. 29 as the Gens battled back several times to overcome the Ottawa 67s 4-3.
Building on a two-goal performance in his previous game, Serron Noel snatched an Ottawa turnover and put Oshawa on the board with his 10th goal of the season at 10:48 of the opening stanza.
The 67s’ Kody Clark would answer with 3:14 remaining in the period to notch things up at 1.
Two minutes later, Ottawa’s Sasha Chmelevski scored, putting the Generals behind 2-1 after one period, despite outshooting their opponents 13-6.
After the Gens failed to take advantage of a 5-on-3 powerplay, Kenny Huether, playing in his 200th OHL game, would net his ninth of the season at 10:16 of the second period to square things up again.
Despite the equal amount of goals after 40 minutes, the Generals held a commanding 25-12 lead in the shot department.
Ottawa would go up 3-2 in the third when Peter Stratis scored at 14:41, however, the Gens remained focused, and Ian Clark evened the score again, ripping home his first OHL goal only 27 seconds later.
Rookie Nick Wong would snap a nine-game goal drought with his eighth of the season on the powerplay at 10:19 to put the Generals up.
Despite a drawing penalty with only 20 seconds left, giving the 67s a two-man advantage, the Gens hung on for the close victory.
As the final buzzer sounded, the two teams engaged in some extracurricular activity, capping off a match-up that saw two fights and 11 powerplays.
Things were a bit less tense for the Gens on Oct. 27 as they pulled out a 4-1 win over their division-leading rival Peterborough Petes.
Noel continued his hot start to the season, cashing into on a rebound from an Allan McShane slapshot, giving the Gens a lead they would never relinquish.
At 15:34 of the second period, Huether ripped a shot from the slot to put the Gens up 2-0.
Despite Oshawa holding a significant lead in shots on goal, Kyle Keyser was still busy in net and lost his chance at a shutout when Peterborough’s Declan Chisholm tipped a shot from the point to get the Petes on the board at 4:20 of the second.
However, as almost on cue, Noel scored his second of the night only twenty seconds later to give the Gens their two-goal cushion back.
After no penalties during the first two periods of the game, offsetting infractions were called five minutes into the third, leading to 4-on-4 hockey, opening up the ice a bit.
This allowed Renars Krastenbergs to extend the Generals lead to 4-1 with his fifth goal of the year off a feed from McShane, who had three assists on the evening.
Noel, who was named the First Star of the game, has already surpassed his goal total from all of last year, something even he is a bit amazed by.
“Yeah, I’m a little surprised. I worked pretty hard this summer and I’m pretty confident this year. I’m off to a hot start but I know that can change in an instant and I want to keep my game up.”
The second-year right winger is quick to spread around credit for his early success.
“Definitely my teammates like Allan McShane, he gave me two great passes and our chemistry is just unbelievable right now. I owe a lot to the coaching staff and my teammates, they’ve been pretty hot right now just feeding me the puck.”
The Gens kicked off the three-game win streak Oct. 26 on the road against the Niagara IceDogs.
After exchanging goals throughout the game, including Eric Henderson scoring his first of the season for the Generals, the teams headed into the extra frame tied 3-3.
However, overtime solved nothing, and a shootout was required to settle the score.
After Krastenbergs missed on the first Oshawa shot, captain Jack Studnicka found the back of the net to give the Generals the advantage. Keyser then shut down the next two IceDogs shooters to clinch the victory.
The Generals stand with an 8-5-2 record, good for 18 points and third in the OHL’s tightly contested East Division, with the first and fifth place teams are only separated by six points. Oshawa is one point out of second and three points out of the first as of press time.
The team hits the road for games against the Erie Otters and Hamilton Bulldogs this Friday (Nov. 3) and Saturday (Nov. 4) before returning to the friendly confines of the Tribute Communities Centre on Sunday, Nov. 5 to host the Kingston Frontenacs.