By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
The Oshawa Generals ended 2017 and began 2018 in the exact same fashion – in victory.
The Gens rang in the new year with a 5-0 drubbing of the North Bay Battalion at the Tribute Communities Centre on Jan. 1.
The game didn’t get off to a great start as forward Danil Antropov went down with an upper-body injury in the first period. According to the team’s Twitter account, he was released from hospital later in the day.
Neither team was able to solve their opponent’s goaltender, and the game remained scoreless after one period of play.
Captain Jack Studnicka opened up the scoring a mere 18 seconds into the second period, netting his 11th of the year, with assists going to Serron Noel and William Ennis.
The defensive nature of the game would continue until Domenico Commisso scored his 10th of the season with 2:25 left in the period to give the Gens a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes.
The floodgates would open in the third period, as Noel scored his 16th of the year at 3:25, and Nick Wong adding two more, his 11th and 12th of the season respectively, to put the final touches on the win.
It wasn’t a walk in the park as Kyle Keyser was busy in net, setting aside 38 shots for his first shutout of the season.
Echoing thoughts from assistant coach Greg Nemisz from before the holiday break, the Generals had an impressive game on special teams, going 2/3 on the power-play, and killing off North Bay’s man advantages.
Sunday’s win built on a 4-3 road victory at TD Place in Ottawa against the 67’s on Friday, Dec. 29
Goals by Kyle McLean and Noel gave the Gens at commanding 2-0 lead after the first period, but Ottawa would come right back, scoring two girls of their own in the second period.
However, a late goal by Hayden McCool, his seventh of the season from Studnicka and Matt Brassard, gave the Gens the lead once more.
Ottawa’s Sasha Chmelveski evened things up one last time before Kenny Huether scored 8:28 on the third to clinch the game.
The Generals are now 3-0 since returning 11-day break after Christmas and are winners of five in a row overall, which has allowed them to leapfrog Peterborough into third in the OHL’s Eastern Division.
In roster news, defenseman Riley Stillman’s career as a General ended on Dec. 28 as he was shipped to the Hamilton Bulldogs for a package of five draft picks.
“Hamilton has been very persistent, and they’ve known what they have wanted for some time. From our standpoint, Brewer and Gross have proven in the first half they are more than capable to play in this league, Brassard has come alive as of recent and Allen, Ennis, Blacker, Di Carlo and Rupoli have proven they can play against team’s top lines. This allows us to be able to make this move and trade Riley” said vice-president and general manager Roger Hunt.
Stillman was drafted by the Generals in the 2014 Priority Selection suiting up for the club in 162 games tallying 18 goals, 49 assists for 67 points and 202 penalty minutes. In the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Stillman was drafted in the fourth round 114th overall by the Florida Panthers.
The Gens are back in action this Friday, Jan. 4 in North Bay for a rematch of New Year’s Day’s game.