Friday, March 8th, 2019: Oshawa Generals vs. North Bay Battalion
The Generals returned home tonight from their northern road trip to battle the North Bay Battalion at the Tribute Communities Centre. Splitting last weekend with a win over the Greyhounds and a loss to the Wolves, the Gens headed into the game with a 39-19-4-0 record on the season. With an 8-1-1-0 record in their last 10 games, Oshawa aimed to continue their winning ways with a two-point effort tonight against the Battalion.
Tonight’s contest also included two Gens players making their debut with the team including defenseman Lleyton Moore and forward Ryan Gagnier. Moore was acquired by Oshawa at the trade deadline and after being sidelined with an injury made his Gens debut tonight. Gagnier, a 3rdround selection by Oshawa in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, committed to an Ontario Hockey League standard player agreement last Wednesday with tonight marking his first OHL game.
The ceremony prior to puck drop tonight included Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell and Robert Howard Chief Possibility Officer, United Way Durham Region presenting their appreciation to the Generals for the team’s continued partnership and support to the United Way.
The Gens came out of the gate flying, owning the puck early and pinning North Bay in their end in the game’s opening shifts. Continuing that trend throughout the first half of the period, Oshawa remained in control of the play and generated lots of offensive zone time and looks on net. However, with eight minutes left in the period, North Bay was able to crack Oshawa’s defense with a shot by Justin Brazeau from the slot that went in and out of the net off the inside post to give the Battalion a 1-0 lead. After the goal, the Gens kept throwing pucks on net, outshooting North Bay 16-9 at the end of the period but couldn’t get one past Battalion goaltender Christian Propp to send them into the intermission down by one.
The second period opened with the Gens taking the game’s first penalty from a tripping call to put them down a man. With a strong defensive effort and some important saves from Oshawa goaltender Kyle Keyser, the Gens were able to kill of the infraction and stay within one of North Bay. Seven minutes into the period, Mitchell Brewer sprung Allan McShane on a breakaway with a nice pass and McShane made no mistake on the chance by burying his 30thgoal of the season and tying the game at 1-1. After the goal, the Battalion took their first penalty of the game to put the Gens on the powerplay. At the tail end of the man advantage, Ty Tullio got a one-timer chance off a pass across the ice but North Bay goaltender Propp stretched across the crease to make the save. Back at even strength, Anthony Salinitri kept the offense rolling for the Gens by controlling the puck down low in North Bay’s end and sliding it past Propp to give the Gens their first lead of the game at 2-1. With just over seven minutes left in the period, Keyser came up with a clutch kick save on a Battalion breakaway to preserve Oshawa’s lead. Just a couple minutes after the save, the Gens made an amazing rush down ice with Giovanni Vallati flipping a pass in the air to spring Salinitri who potted his second goal of the game, increasing Oshawa’s lead to two. Finishing off the period with a penalty kill, the Gens held off North Bay and headed into the final period up 3-1.
Starting the third period with a powerplay from a North Bay penalty taken at the end of the second, the Gens capitalized on the chance with Salinitri sniping home his hattrick goal for his 5th three-goal performance as a General to put Oshawa ahead 4-1. The Gens didn’t slow down from there as they continued to pile on the goals with a tally from Brett Neumann off a backhand shot in alone after Danil Antropov picked off a Battalion pass and set him up for the goal. Seven minutes into the period, Oshawa received a penalty to put them on the penalty kill but was turned into 4-on-4 play when North Bay took a call of their own right after. Making use of the extra room on the ice, Ty Tullio put a perfect shot past the Battalion to extend Oshawa’s lead to an amazing five goals. After their sixth goal, the Gens had a 5-on-3 opportunity after North Bay took two penalties. Once again making the most of the chance, Vallati ripped a shot from the point that beat the Battalion to put Oshawa ahead by six. Holding onto the big lead for the remainder of the third, the Gens finished off the game with a commanding 7-1 victory over the Battalion.
After the huge win tonight to start off their three-game weekend, the team will travel to Ottawa with momentum for a Saturday night matchup with the 67’s before taking them on again at home on Sunday evening.