By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
It was sweet revenge for the Oshawa Generals on March 26 as they walloped the Sudbury Wolves 5-1 at the Tribute Communities Centre to even the first round playoff series at one win each.
Similar to the club’s start on Friday, Oshawa came out strong in the first period – so strong, in fact, that a hit from Alex Di Carlo dislodged the corner glass only seconds into the game. The physical play led to a series of penalties for both teams, and it was eventually Jack Studnicka on the powerplay who opened the scoring for Oshawa with his first of the post-season. The first period would end with Oshawa up by one and outshooting the Wolves 15-9.
In the second period, breaking up the sideboards, Studnicka took a feed from Renars Krastenbergs and, while cutting to the net, roofed the puck over the shoulder of Wolve’s netminder Jake McGrath for his second of the game, putting Oshawa up 2-0.
Late in the second, the Gens got themselves into a little penalty trouble, finding themselves down to three players on the ice with the Wolves’ five players baring down. Leaning on top scorer Dmitry Sokolov at the point, the Wolves attempted to break through Jeremy Brodeur. However, Di Carlo took the brunt of the shots, blocking a pair of heavy slap shots before clearing the puck. The performance got a loud round of cheers from the fans.
“It hurt, it hurt a lot,” Di Carlo said after the game with a laugh. “But that’s what they brought me here to do, they brought me here to be a defensive presence and that’s what I want to do.”
After killing off the first penalty, Kyle MacLean would steal the puck at the blue line and come in to score shorthanded and put the Gens up 3-0.
It would be Matt Brassard and Mason Kohn rounding out the scoresheet for the Generals in the third period, but the club would be unable to hold on to help Brodeur gain the shutout as the Wolves struck on the powerplay with a goal from Sokolov for his second of the series.
With the victory, the Gens even the best-of-seven series 1-1 before Game 3 in Sudbury on March 28 (the result of which was not available ahead of The Oshawa Express’ press deadline).
Speaking after the game, Brassard says the victory was a big one for the Generals.
“That was huge,” he says. “I think it was a great game to get back on track and get the guys going for their playoff experience.”
With strong performances in both games, including a massive hit in Game 1 that got the TCC on their feet, Brassard says that striking first in Game 2 was a big contributing factor in the win, noting that a strong start in Game 1 was deflated by a flukey Wolves power play goal.
“So tonight we came out with the same mentality, we came out with the same hot start and we ended up capitalizing on our chances,” he says.
Playing in his first playoff game after being left off the roster for Game 1, Di Carlo says the game was a big boost for him and the team as a whole.
“Me getting those two big blocls was huge for me and my confidence,” he says. “After the loss on Friday, we really needed to bounce back and get a big two points to even up the series.”
With Game 3 on March 28 and Game 4 on March 30, the series will shift back to Oshawa for Game 5 on Friday, March 31 with puck drop set for 7:35 p.m.
For more up to date Gens coverage, visit The Oshawa Express online at www.oshawaexpress.ca.