By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
At first, the Oshawa Generals appeared overmatched against the first place Hamilton Bulldogs, but the hometown team held its own in defeat.
Hamilton, the top team in the OHL’s Eastern Conference, were ahead 1-0 before many fans had settled into their seats on Sunday, March 11 as former General Riley Stillman scored only 50 seconds into the game.
Halfway through the first period, the one-goal deficit had increased to three.
Nick Wong would put Oshawa on the board at 12:53 with his 17th of the season.
However, the Bulldogs would reply back and regain a three-goal advantage with a minute left in the period.
The offensive frenzy of the first 20 minutes was followed by a more defensive pace through the beginning of the second period.
Kenny Huether scored his team-leading 29th goal of the season on the power play at 13:37 with assists from Kyle McLean and Allan McShane to inch the Gens closer.
Captain Jack Studnicka continued the momentum swing, picking off an errant Hamilton pass and making a phenomenal move on goaltender Nick Donofrio to make it a one-goal game.
Hamilton’s Ryan Moore restored the multi-goal lead at 8:10 of third period, but Hayden McCool answered back only five seconds later with his 14th goal.
With two minutes left in the game, the Gens pulled goalie Cole Ceci to bring on the extra pressure, but the Bulldogs sealed the 6-4 win with an empty netter at 19:41.
The loss was only the second for the Gens in their past 10 games.
Oshawa continued their strong road play with a 6-2 victory over the Mississauga Steelheads on Friday, March 9.
After giving up an early goal, the Gens roared back, ending the first period with a 3-1 lead.
Studnicka, Brendan Harrogate, and Domenico Commisso were the goal scorers.
Allan McShane opened the scoring in the second at 3:37, his 19th of the year, followed by Studnicka at 12:43.
In the third period, Studnicka buried his third of the game into an empty net, earning his first hat trick of the season.
Even with the lopsided score, Kyle Keyser had a busy night, stopping 40 of 42 shots against him.
On March 7, the Gens picked up a bit of a retribution win against the Kingston Frontenacs, prevailing 5-3. Heading into the game Kingston had dominated the season series, winning five of six games.
Although Oshawa has clinched a playoff spot, the final three games of the season will be key in determining who they will square off against in the first round. The team currently sits in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 71 points, three points behind fourth-place Niagara and three points ahead of sixth place North Bay.
The Gens are in Kingston tonight (March 14) before heading home for the last two games of the season, Friday against the Peterborough Petes and Sunday against the Sudbury Wolves.