By Dave FlahertyThe Oshawa Express
To call the Oshawa Generals’ home opener against the London Knights a back and forth affair would be somewhat of an understatement.
The Gens came from behind to grab a 5-4 victory in front of a raucous crowd of 5,119 at the Tribute Communities Centre on Sunday, Oct. 1
Momentum continually shifted throughout the game, with each period telling a different tale on the scoreboard.
After the Knights jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period, the Gens found their groove, scoring three times in the last six minutes of the frame.
Rookie Nick Wong put Oshawa on the scoreboard with a powerplay goal at 14:07, his sixth of the season.
Alex Di Carlo broke the tie less than two minutes later and Serron Neol scored again with 53 seconds left in the period to put the Generals up 3-1 after 20 minutes.
The Generals would get into penalty trouble early in the second period with Matt Brassard and Renars Krastenbergs both receiving highsticking infractions, Krastenbergs’ a four-minute double minor.
The Knights didn’t take their time making the best of the extra man advantage, scoring three power-play goals only two minutes apart, including two by Max Jones within 1:08 of each other, to take a 4-3 lead.
However, Krastenbergs would gain a bit of vindication later in the second by dashing in and beating Knights goalie Jordan Kooy on a one-on-one to tie up the game.
Just 1:25 later, Wong would fire a shot low left on Kooy to score his league-leading seventh goal of the season, which would eventually be the game winner.
The Generals would outshoot the Knights 10-5 in the third period and hold on for the one-goal win, improving their record to 3-2-0.
Logan Gauthier made 17 saves to pick up the win in net for Oshawa.
Asked about his phenomenal start, Wong says he’s not doing it all on his own.
“I don’t really know how to explain it. I’ll give a lot of credit to my teammates, because they always make it easier for me.”
Assistant coach Greg Nemisz says he’s been extremely impressed with his rookie centre so far this season.
“He’s playing phenomenal out there. He’s got a knack for the net obviously but it’s not just the scoring, he’s making plays as well and for a guy his size he’s fearless in the corners and he’s coming up with a lot of pucks.”
Nemisz says he and fellow assistant coach Nathan McIver are in constant communication with head coach Bob Jones, who is currently away from the team for personal reasons.
“We’re talking to Bob quite a bit, usually about hockey, but we’re just hoping he’s in good spirits and recovering.”
Sunday’s game marked the first at home as captain for Jack Studnicka, who recently inked an entry-level deal with the Boston Bruins. The Bruins selected Studnicka 53rd overall in this past summer’s NHL draft.
Studnicka, who had two assists in the victory, praised his team’s tenacity to pull out the win, noting they maintained their focus throughout the game.
“[We just have to] keep our emotions in check. Don’t get too angry, don’t get too happy when we are winning,” Studnicka said. “It’s a long game, 60 minutes, you have to be pretty consistent. There was a lot of penalties so special teams were going to decide the fate of that game and luckily enough our powerplay came through.”
The Generals are next in action at home against the Niagara IceDogs this Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:35 p.m.