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Gens face tough test against first place teams

The Generals took on two division leading powerhouses over the weekend, facing the Ottawa 67’s in a home-and-home, and the Longdon Knights. (Photo by Chris Jones)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

The Oshawa Generals took on a tough three game weekend only playing first place teams, capping it off against the perpetually dominant London Knights.

To begin the game against London, the Gens started strong, getting plenty of scoring opportunities in the first half of the period. However, in the second half the Knights took control of the puck.

To break the scoreless tie, Connor McMichael scored on the powerplay after an interference penalty from Nico Gross, making it 1-0 at the end of the period.

Gens goalie Kyle Keyser kept them in the game as he made quality saves to stop the Knights as they attacked the net.

Finally, the Knights discipline wavered as they took two consecutive penalties. The second, which was for cross-checking, resulted in a goal from Allan McShane, his 20th of the season, to tie the game at the end of the second.

The third period was when the goals started rolling in, as Nicholas Mattinen gave the Gens another powerplay goal to give them the lead after he put in a rebound from in front of the net.

However, while on the powerplay the Gens gave up a shorthanded goal to the Knights Liam Foudy to tie it back up.

Anthony Salinitri then found the back of the net after ripping a one timer from the slot off a pass from Mattinen to retake the lead.

However, the Gens defense began to crumble as they allowed three consecutive goals, one of which was an empty net goal to solidify the Knights lead. Ultimately, the Gens lost 5-3 at home.

There were some bright spots in the loss for the Gens, as Salinitri was named the first star of the game with a goal and two assists, and Mattinen was the second star after a goal and two assists as well.

The Gens did not maintain control of the puck throughout the game, as they were outshot 45-29, with 32 of those shots coming in the first two periods. But they did go 2-for-4 on the powerplay.

In earlier action, the Gens played a home-and-home against the Ottawa 67’s, the first of which was played in Oshawa.

In the first period, pucks were hitting the back of the net as both teams scored six goals, the first of which came off the stick of the 67’s Kyle Maksimovich.

The Gens were quick to respond to the early Ottawa goal however, as captain Kyle MacLean buried one from right in front of the net, his 12th of the season.

However, the Gens would then give up three unanswered goals as Austen Keating, Maksimovich and Marco Rossi all put one past Keyser to take a commanding 4-1 lead.

The Gens would add one more to their own tally however, as Mattinen scored his first as a General off of the backhand. The first period ended with the Gens down 4-2.

The second period began with a quick goal off the stick of Sam Bitten for Ottawa, and was quickly followed by a goal from Jack Quinn.

The goal from Quinn resulted in Keyser being pulled, as he had allowed six goals in just over 23 minutes of play and had eight saves in 14 shots.

Despite the four-goal deficit, the Gens continued to fight as Tyler Tullio put a shot from the slot past Ottawa goalie Michael DiPietro.

Salinitri then carried the puck into the 67’s end, and put a shot off the post in for his 35th of the season.

However, Maksimovich would score another as he completed the hat trick, and was followed by Tye Felhaber, as the second ended with the Gens down 8-4.

Heading into the third, Brett Neumann was quick to tally another for the Gens as he snapped a shot past the Ottawa defenders for his 31st of the season.

Ottawa responded quickly however, as Mitchell Hoelscher added another for their ninth goal of the game.

In the end, Salinitri added another when he buried a one-timer for his second of the night, making the final score of the game 9-6 in Ottawa’s favour.

Despite the loss, Salinitri was named the third star of the game as he scored two goals for the Gens.

The Gens also outshot their opponents 38-31 and went 4-for-7 on the powerplay.

The Generals then moved on to Ottawa to complete the home-and-home the next night, and still were not successful in defeating their division rival. The Gens were shutout by the 67’s losing the game 4-0.

The goal scorers for Ottawa were Felhaber, Merrick Rippon, Rossi, and Graeme Clarke.

The Gens outshot their opponents 38-28, and went 0-for-6 on the powerplay.

Oshawa moves on from a tough weekend to take on the Peterborough Petes for another home-and-home. The two games begin in Oshawa on Friday, Feb. 1 at 7:35 p.m., moving to Peterborough the next night. The Gens will then take on the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at home on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2:05 p.m.