By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The Oshawa Generals have regained their place atop the OHL’s Eastern Conference after capping off a perfect weekend with a 4-2 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Super Bowl Sunday.
The weekend started off with a 5-0 blanking of the Kingston Frontenacs, followed up by a 3-2 overtime victory over the Peterborough Petes, who are chasing close behind the Generals for the first-place position.
“We had a great week in practice last week and going into the weekend, our goal was four out of six points, and anything we got on top of that is a bonus,” said assistance coach Nathan McIver.
With the three weekend wins, Oshawa improved to 30-15-3-2 for 65 points, ahead of the Petes’ 63 points.
And while he says the club is keeping a close eye on the standings, Eric Henderson says the bigger focus is on the team’s play down the stretch.
“We just try to worry about ourselves every day and every game and it’s worked out well for us lately,” he says.
Henderson, who scored the opening goal in the win over Hamilton at the Tribute Communities Centre, along with potting an empty netter to seal the deal, has found himself on one of the team’s top lines alongside Domenic Commisso and new acquisition Allan McShane.
McShane’s performance since being traded from the Erie Otters in January has earned him honours from the OHL as the league’s top rookie last month.
“It helps coming here and all the guys obviously made a difference for me to really push my game to that top level,” he says.
Looking ahead, McShane knows his skills are going to be continually relied upon as the regular season wraps up.
“Every game counts and every point matters. Obviously, we’re in a pretty tight race now for first,” he says.
And when every point matters, teams don’t want to give away any, and in the third period of Sunday’s game, the Gens almost did just that.
With a 3-1 lead in the third period, thanks to a beautiful shot from Danil Antropov, the Gens were caught on a bad line change as all five players raced to the bench at once. The open ice allowed the Bulldogs a quick play up the ice and beat Jeremy Brodeur to cut their lead in half with just under five minutes to go.
“It’s a tough bounce and it happens sometimes, and the guy made a nice move,” Brodeur said after the game.
However, the Gens would hold on to win the game and help Brodeur set a new record for wins in a season with 25, topping last season’s 24.
“I think I came back this year a little more prepared than I did last year,” the veteran netminder said after learning of the accomplishment. “I felt more comfortable earlier on in the year as to last year.”
The Gens hit the road this week starting in Windsor on Feb. 9 before moving on to Sarnia to face the Sting on Feb. 10. On Feb. 12 they return home for Super Hero Night against the North Bay Battalion. The game, which will feature themed jerseys and special guests, is done in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Puck drop is set for 6:05 p.m.