Gens snap 8-game skid, inching closer to post season
Oshawa, Ont., – Sunday night was finally a fun one again in Oshawa, as the Oshawa Generals defeated the visiting Mississauga Steelheads 6-3, inching that much closer to the elusive 8th and final playoff spot.
With the Kingston Frontenacs losing 6-0 to the Kitchener Rangers earlier in the afternoon, the door was blown wide open for Oshawa to take a stranglehold on the final spot with a win – and it showed when the puck dropped.
The Generals came out flying in the first period, winning battles in each zone of the ice, before finally opening the scoring. Midway through the period, Cameron Butler threw a wrister off the pads of Steelheads starting goalie Alessio Beglieri. The rebound was kicked out directly to the far playoff dot where Luke Torrance was waiting in the wings. Making no mistake, Torrance shot the rebound right back on the net, and past Beglieri for his ninth of the season.
Oshawa finished the first period up 1-0, outshooting the visitors 16-11.
The middle frame saw the Generals emphasize that they were ready to see an X next to their name on the standings. Less than four minutes into the second period, Cameron Butler tipped home a Stuart Rolofs point shot to give Oshawa the 2-0 lead. Midway through the period, at almost the exact same time that Torrance opened the scoring, Matthew Buckley wired home a one-timer just seconds after a power play expired for the seventh of his season, putting the Gens up 3-0.
Doing whatever they could to slow the momentum of the home side, the Steelheads were finally able to solve Jacob Oster. Lucas Karmiris was sent in all alone on a breakaway and beat Oster low through his five-hole to give Mississauga some life.
Before the second period could end, Beckett Sennecke snuck a puck through the wickets of Beglieri, giving the Gens their three-goal lead back. After a review on the play, it was clear the puck crossed the red line, sending the 5,718 Gens faithful into a roar of emotion to end the period.
With just 20 minutes separating the Generals from a crucial two points, veteran forward Ryan Gagnier made sure the game was over right then and there. On the penatly kill, Gagnier beat a Mississauga defender to the puck, before driving to the net all alone, banking the shot off another defender’s skate and into the net. Gagnier’s 30th of the season marked the first time he’s ever hit the mileston, joining Stuart Rolofs as the only Generals to score this season. Now up 5-1, the Generals could breath a little easier.
The Steelheads wouldn’t go away though, as a few minutes later, Angus MacDonnel buried a loose puck through Oster’s crease after a missed shot from teammate Charlie Callaghan. Oshawa responded once again, late in the third period after Buckley scored his second of the game, almost a direct copy of his first goal. The one-timer pass from Luke Torrance was rocketed home for the 6-2 lead.
Mississauga would score one more goal in the dying minutes of the game, but would only get as close as 6-3, losing to the Generals for the second time this season.
The victory sets up the Generals extremely well entering the final week of the regular season, as now a regulation win on Wednesday night in Kingston clinches the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.