The 2016/17 OHL season marked 80 years of Oshawa Generals History and proved to be a remarkable season. The Generals goal for this season was to grow as a team, gaining experience while making a strong bid for the 2018 MasterCard Memorial Cup. To look to build for the next season, General Manger and Vice President Roger Hunt made some tough decisions with the team’s best interests in mind. Nearing trade deadline, Oshawa traded pieces of their 2015 Memorial Cup winning team, Anthony Cirelli, Mitchell Vande Sompel, Stephen Templeton and Daniel Robertson.
In return, Oshawa received numerous future picks along with rookie sensation Allan McShane from the Erie Otters, a veteran forward and workhorse in Mason Kohn, and added defensemen, Matt Brassard and Ian Blacker. After a full effort from the Generals organization in the bid for the cup, the Generals finished top 3 in consideration by the CHL. The league would go on to select the Regina St. Pats as the host for the 2018 MasterCard Memorial Cup. During the bid process, the Oshawa Generals organization displayed unity and honour of such a storied franchise. In a season that most wrote off the historic team, Oshawa not only accomplished what they set out to at the beginning of the 2016/17 season but also surpassed expectations.
After running the show in the Eastern Conference for nearly all the regular season, the Generals relinquished the number one seed to their rival Peterborough Petes over the last couple of weeks of the season finishing third overall. The Generals would go on to beat the Sudbury Wolves in the first round of the playoffs in six games before falling to the high scoring Mississauga Steelheads in five games in the second round.
Many exciting events highlighted the Generals 80th season. An incredible home opener in which the new scoreboard was debuted in front of a sold-out crowd. A celebration in which Marc Savard’s banner was raised to the rafters to join the greats. Two games were held in support of outstanding charities, the United Way of Durham Region and the Children’s Wish Foundation. The players wore special jerseys which were auctioned off following the games to further support of the causes. Once more, teddy bears flew onto the ice for the annual teddy bear toss, in which Gensnation collected 5,770 teddy bears in support of the Durham Children’s Aid Foundation’s Holiday Hope program.
Highlights of the hockey played this season saw jaw-dropping plays and record-breaking performances including a 16 round shootout winner scored by Kyle MacLean and followed that up the next game with another shootout winner in only 3 rounds this time, multiple 50 save performances from overeager Jeremy Brodeur, Sean Allen’s first career OHL goal after jumping out of the box and being sent in alone on a breakaway and Riley Stillman scoring his first hat trick in the season finale against the Peterborough Petes which the Gens won 4-2.
Jeremy Brodeur put the Generals defence on his back recording 33 wins with two more shutouts to give him 11 shutouts in his Generals career which puts him atop that list. Brodeur also finished his OHL career with 70 wins which put him second all-time among Generals goaltenders. Kyle Keyser will step into the starter role come next season with the departure of Brodeur and will have some big pads to fill, a challenge the Generals coaching staff are confident that he will embrace after a stellar showing in his two postseason games in which he stopped 59 of 63 shots.
On the other side of the puck, the Generals offense exploded as last season’s young Generals turned into veterans with numerous players setting career highs in offensive categories. Domenic Commisso led the team in points through the regular season finishing with 19 goals and 44 assists for a total of 63 points, smashing his previous high by more than 20 points. Medric Mercier who was acquired from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds early on in the season recorded 48 points, more than his first three seasons with the Greyhounds combined, and led all OHL defensemen with 14 power play goals. Rookie Allan McShane who was acquired from the Erie Otters for Anthony Cirelli along with a few draft picks finished with 44 points putting him in fourth among rookies while Eric Henderson smashed his previous highs in every category and recording 52 points, his previous high being 18.
In the postseason, the Generals offense was powered by a combination of veterans and sophomores with Jack Studnicka leading the team with 15 points and Renars Krastenbergs leading the team with 6 goals, while Florida Panthers prospect Riley Stillman added 9 helpers and Captain Joe Manchurek chipped in with 9 points in his final playoff campaign. The Generals played thriller after thriller in the first round being down 2-1 in the series and coming back to win three straight games and then jumping out to an early 1-0 lead against the Steelheads before eventually falling in five games.
The Generals will lose three key players due to age in Jeremy Brodeur, Medric Mercier, and Joe Manchurek, but much of the team will look the same heading into this summer’s training camp. After a tough first two playoff round series against the Sudbury Wolves and Mississauga Steelheads, young players such as Krastenbergs, Antropov, Noel and McShane have the playoff experience to grow themselves and know what it takes to win as the Generals build towards another Memorial Cup run in the next couple of seasons. Fans of the Oshawa Generals have much to look forward to with the young talent on the roster, as well as players in the pipeline from this year’s OHL Priority Draft. Exciting times are on the horizon in Oshawa, as we look towards the next 80 years.
Thank you to the best fans in the CHL for the incredible support all season!
It all begins this September; 2017-18 season tickets are on sale now! click here!