By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
The Generals went into Game 5 against the Peterborough Petes up 3-1, needing only one more win to move on to the second round.
With momentum in their direction having won Game 4 and being back at home, the Gens were looking to get on the board fast, but so did the Petes as Zach Gallant opened the scoring only 1:47 into the game.
After some back and forth play and being down 1-0 heading into the dying seconds of the first, the Gens’ Serron Noel took advantage of some four-on-three hockey and buried his first goal of the playoffs.
With the game tied heading into the second, both teams were looking to take the lead, and the Gens did just that when Cole Resnick sniped a shot from the slot past Petes’ goalie Hunter Jones to take the lead.
Peterborough didn’t take this lying down however, as Gallant scored his second to tie the game once again.
With less than two minutes left in the period, Oshawa was on the powerplay when Anthony Salinitri received the puck off a deflection, and was able to put it past Jones to take back the lead for Oshawa.
With the score 3-2 heading into the third, both team exchanged chances with Gens goalie Kyle Keyser standing tall in net and not allowing another goal before captain Kyle MacLean sealed the 4-2 victory with an empty net goal.
Keyser earned his keep as the Gens were outshot 39-31, and went 2-for-7 on the powerplay.
Oshawa also took home two stars of the game as Salinitri was named the first star with a goal and an assist, and Keyser was the third star of the game after stopping 37 of 39 shots.
The Gens dominated the series on the scoreboard, outscoring the Petes 26-9 over the five games.
The Gens will move on to play the Niagara IceDogs, who they had a 1-1 record against in the regular season.
Heading into the next series, Gens general manager and vice-president Roger Hunt tells The Oshawa Express “I think [the team] has to feel good about themselves, to beat your archenemy in five games, and fortunately the way it worked out our home fans got to see us three times, so it’s really a good series for us to win.”
Hunt says the team knows there’s some room for improvement in their game before they take on the IceDogs.
“I think we have to get better and, as you move through the playoffs you meet tougher teams and tougher opponents,” he says.
In terms of what he hopes the team can improve on heading into the next round, Hunt was quick to say puck management.
“I don’t think we moved the puck very well, which led to spending energy to retrieving, so I think if we can tighten that up and tidy that up a little bit, it’ll help our play certainly,” he says. “Commitment to defense I think will be big, puck management will be big, and if we can manage our pucks better it should give us better opportunities.
Hunt notes Keyser had a strong performance in the last round, and the defense was good as they only gave up nine goals in five games.
Hunt says the IceDogs are a formidable opponent, noting they made some big moves at the deadline, including acquiring former Generals captain Jack Studnicka.
“They’re a free scoring team, they’re really offensive,” he says. “They’re a different team than Peterborough. The pace will probably be a little bit higher.”
He believes Niagara will be under some pressure as they finished higher in the standings.
The series begins on Friday, April 5 in Niagara, with game 2 on April 7. The Gens will return home on Tuesday April 9, at 7:05 p.m.