By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
A run of bad luck could be blamed for spoiling a strong comeback effort by the Oshawa Generals as they battled back from a 5-1 deficit against the Sarnia Sting, only to fall short in the third period 6-5.
It was a flukey start for the Gens who took an early slashing penalty in the offensive zone. On the ensuing power play, Sarnia (32-12-2) was able to put a shot past Kyle Keyser that, at first, did not appear to hit the back of the net. However, upon further review, the shot from the goal line did in fact cross the line, putting the Sting up by one at 18:56, leaving the Gens and many fans shaking their heads in confusion.
A few minutes later, a bad bounce would find its way past Keyser to put Sarnia up by 2-0, and the luck didn’t change from there.
Sarnia’s third goal pick took a bounce high off the boards, with several Gens losing sight of the puck as it arced through the air, only to end up directly in front of the net and on the stick of Sarnia’s Adam Ruzicka who put the Sting up 3-0. The first frame wasn’t even at the halfway point.
After a pair of powerplays, one for each team, saw no offensive results, it was Matthew Brassard, fresh off playing the hero in the shootout victory over the Peterborough Petes the night before, who decided it was time for Oshawa to get on the board.
Starting behind the net, Brassard took off out of the defensive zone, weaving through Sarnia players before reaching the offensive blueline and rifling a shot top corner, much to the delight of the 5,000-plus fans in attendance at the Tribute Communities Centre.
However, the sign of life would be quickly stomped out by the Sting who added two more goals before the first frame let out, sending things to the dressing room at a score of 5-1.
Now, as much as the first period belonged to Sarnia, the Generals came out in the second period determined to take the game back.
Captain Jack Studnicka would get things started a few minutes, pounding home a loose puck to make the score 5-2. Danil Antropov would make it 5-3 as the crowd began to get back in the game. Brendan Harrogate would bring the score within one as the second period drew to a close with many in the crowd starting to get to their feet.
In the third period, it would be Studnicka with his second of the game who sent the crowd into a frenzy, tying the game at 5-5.
However, the bad luck would once again rear its head as Studnicka, hunting for the hat trick, split the defense, nearly pushing through for a breakaway, but when making a move for the puck, would hit the stick of a defender, knocking it from his hands and getting himself a penalty.
The crowd let their dissatisfaction with the call be heard as the TCC filled with a chorus of boos.
However, when the Sting scored on the enusing powerplay to once again take the lead, the boos turned to chants of “ref you suck,” the word echoing around the seating bowl and across the ice.
The blow would prove too much for the Gens to overcome, despite coming close multiple times, including with mere seconds to go, and a sprawling Sting goaltender, Oshawa would lose the game 6-5.
The Gens are back in action this week with a pair of away games. First, Oshawa travels to Kingston on Friday, followed by a visit to Hamilton on Saturday before returning home on Sunday to take on the Ottawa 67s.