The Oshawa Generals hosted the Mississauga Steelheads in Game 5 for their first of three possible elimination games of the playoffs. After winning the first game of the series in Mississauga the Generals dropped the next three and need to win three straight of their own to keep their playoff campaign alive. The Gens scored three goals in the third period on Thursday in a comeback that fell one goal short and Coach Bob Jones was looking for that kind of effort for the full 60 minutes tonight. Kyle Keyser got the nob between the pipes for the Gens for his first playoff start after an impressive performance in Game 4 and looked to follow it up with another one tonight.
The Generals got off to a fast start to the game putting pressure on the Steelheads all over the ice and were rewarded with some great chances, but couldn’t make them count. Jack Studnicka broke in off the wing and beat Mancina glove side, but couldn’t beat the post. On the other end the Steelheads put up 16 shots which were all stopped by Keyser, some with ease and others needing acrobatics. After the first 20 minutes the teams headed into the dressingroom scoreless with the shots 16-9 in favour of the visitors. The teams also exchanged pleasantries after almost every whistle, much to the delight of the crowd in attendance.
The Generals kept their pressure strong on the Steelheads and came close to breaking the tie on a breakaway from Domenic Commisso who shot the puck just wide. It would be the visitors who got on the board first after Stefan LeBlanc found the puck on a rebound and put it in the back of the net for his first playoff goal midway through the period. The Generals kept pushing for the equalizer, but the Steelheads weathered the storm and caught the Gens flat footed as Trent Fox got in behind the defense and snipped one high glove side to double the Steelheads lead. Studnicka had a great chance to put the Gens on the board as he broke in all alone on a breakaway, but was stopped by Mancina with 1:32 remaining in the period. After 40 minutes of play the Generals trailed 2-0 with one period remaining in their elimination game.
The Generals did their best to try and get back in the game putting shot after shot on Mancina, but couldn’t solve the veteran. Their best chance came on a Renards Krastenbergs shot that got through Mancina and was left untouched for a few seconds behind him, but the Steelheads managed to cover up the puck. The Steelheads would go on to ice the game on a Nathan Bastian goal after putting the moves on Keyser and sliding it around his outstretched pads. The Generals would get on the board thanks to a goal from the captain Joe Manchurek off a pretty feed from Krastenbergs from behind the net, but that would be as close as they would get as the Gens would go on to fall 3-1 and 4-1 overall in the series.
In a season in which most wrote the Oshawa Generals off after the trade deadline, the team came together and surpassed all expectations. Rookies got experience and veterans proved to be a consistent force as we celebrated our 80 year anniversary. The Generals will look to the future for next season. Don’t miss out on the action!