By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Fans at the Tribute Communities Centre may have been a little worried that they were in for a snooze fest after the first 20 minutes of the Oshawa Generals and Ottawa 67s on Nov. 6. Little did they know what was in store.
The first four minutes of the second period saw the Gens explode for a trio of goals, forming the foundation of an offensive surge that would lead them to a 6-0 victory.
The win pushed the Generals (11-5-0-1) back into first place in the Eastern Conference with 23 points, ahead of the Hamilton Bulldogs’ 22 points (10-5-2-0) and the North Bay Battalion’s 20 points (9-7-2-0).
“I don’t really look at the stats, to be honest, that often,” said head coach Bob Jones. “We look at the wins and losses, of course, and try to gauge how we’re playing and we’ve played a good brand of hockey for the most part of the year.”
Oshawa’s impactful second period got started off a shot from Medric Mercier who, fielding a bouncing puck off the boards, went top corner on goaltender Olivier Lafreniere. The first goal would be followed up with goals from Eric Henderson and captain Anthony Cirelli. All three goals would be assisted by Domenic Commisso.
The three goals would chase Lafreniere from the net to be replaced by Leo Lazarev, Ottawa’s regular starter.
Henderson would add his second of the night before the period let out, and in the third, both Stephen Temleton and Kenny Heuther would add further insurance markers.
Brodeur saved all 19 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season.
Jones says that while the team’s success has been centered on their key leading players, he’s been happy with his entire roster.
“Cirelli is our engine up front, Vande (Sompel) is our engine on the back and Brodeur is obviously our engine in net, but for the most part, I’ve been happy with our four lines.”
The game was also a big step forward for Oshawa’s power play, which has had some struggles so far in the season, going three for seven against Ottawa.
“I think we’re trying to shoot more pucks, earlier we were trying to do it a little too fancy,” Henderson says.
However, it may not all be good news for the Gens, who may lose tough defender Sean Allen after a fight halfway through the third frame. The bout with Ottawa’s Travis Barron marked Allen’s third fight of the season, and under the new OHL rules this season, that means an automatic two-game suspension. The new player safety initiatives were launched at the beginning of this year and lowered the fight threshold prior to suspension from 10 games to three.
Jones says as of now, it isn’t guaranteed that Allen will sit for a pair of games as, to him, the fight was clearly instigated by Barron.
“I think it was clearly an instigator, so we’ll send it in and hopefully the league agrees with me,” he said, adding the situation behind Oshawa’s net didn’t leave Allen with many options.
“He clearly knows the rules, but you have to defend yourself when people go after you with their gloves off. I think you have no choice but to defend yourself.”
The Oshawa Generals are back in action for a busy weekend starting on Nov. 11 in Mississauga before travelling to Hamilton the following night. Oshawa is back at home on Sunday, Nov. 13 for a matchup against the Sudbury Wolves. Puck drop is set for 6:05 p.m.