By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
It’s been a tough stretch for the Oshawa Generals, and matters didn’t get any easier when they took a 7-1 pounding at the hands of the Peterborough Petes on Feb. 26 at the Tribute Communities Centre.
The thrashing in front of a nearly sold-out crowd came on the heels of two other weekend losses, the first coming in a 3-2 loss to Ottawa followed by a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Kitchener Rangers on home ice.
The slump dropped Oshawa out of the top spot in the OHL’s Eastern Conference, leaving them four points behind the Petes with nine games remaining in the regular season.
“It was an important game, but you can’t read too much into it,” says head coach Bob Jones. “We got beat at home and we’ve got to get better.”
That improvement definitely needs to come on the scoresheet, Jones adds, noting the team has lost a bit of its “mojo” over the last week, managing to score only eight goals in their last four games.
“There’s only a few things that generate emotion in this league and scoring is one of them,” he says. “It’s hard to generate emotion if you’re not scoring.”
Jack Studnicka would get the lone goal for Oshawa on Sunday night. The game was the seventh meeting of the two teams this season with the Petes now leading that series 4-3.
Jones also attributes a lack of discipline in the club’s loss with Oshawa spending the majority of the first half of the game on the penalty kill, allowing two powerplay goals.
“I’m certainly disappointed with some of our players. There’s things that you can correct and that’s one thing we will correct as a team. We’ve got to be a lot more disciplined in certain times of the game,” Jones says.
The Gens are back in action tonight (March 1) for a rare mid-week home game when they take on the Kingston Frontenacs at 7:05 p.m.
If the club is to have a hope of gaining home ice advantage in the playoffs by finishing top in the conference, the wins will need to start there. However, Jones says the team is taking it one game at a time.
“We’re trying to finish as best we can. You’d prefer to play home ice advantage, obviously, but you’ve got to go out and play each game and hopefully you do enough to get some wins and we’ve had a real strong year this year. I like this bunch, there’s a lot of character in that room, they’re resilient and we’ll find a way,” he says.
“There’s no special pill that I can hand out at the end of the game that gets us out of this rut. When you’re in a rut, you’ve got to dig in as a team, as a coaching staff and work your way out of it.”
Following Wednesday’s matchup, the Oshawa Generals will head off on a weekend road trip that will take them to Saginaw on March 3 and Flint on March 4. The Gens are back at home on March 10 to face off against the Ottawa 67s.