The Oshawa Generals season began this week with a pair of games on the road against Eastern Conference rivals. Before action began, the Generals found themselves in the news, as they would find themselves ranked 10th in the country in the first edition of the BMO CHL Mastercard Top Ten Rankings, the only ranked team in the OHL’s Eastern Conference.
The Generals opened the season in the den of one of their fiercest rivals, at the Peterborough Memorial Centre on Thursday night. Oshawa was hoping that last year’s success against the Petes would carry over into the 2012-13 season, as they won seven of eight meetings against Peterborough a year ago. The Gens got rolling midway through the first period, as Lucas Lessio was able to capitalize on a two man advantage earned after Petes defender Clark Seymour would argue a call against him, earning an extra penalty. That would be all the scoring in the opening frame, Peterborough would outshoot Oshawa 15-10 in the period.
In the second period, a rough night for Seymour would continue, as he would take a long run at Generals rookie Michael Dal Colle, taken 7th Overall in the OHL Entry Draft this past spring. The hit drew the ire of another Generals rookie, Tyler Biggs, the 2011 1st round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who was playing in his first OHL game after leaving the Miami University Redhawks to sign with the Leafs this summer. Biggs would immediate challenge Seymour to a fight, and put the veteran rearguard down with a quick series of punches. Though Biggs would earn an Instigator penalty on the play, the fight seemed to fire up his teammates, as the Generals would score three times in the following seven minutes, blowing the game open. Lessio’s 2nd of the game started things for Oshawa, on a nice play where he cut to the front of the net, surprising Petes goaltender Andrew D’Agostini. Captain Boone Jenner would then score a pair of goals four minutes apart, giving the Generals a comfortable 4-0 lead that they would take to the 2nd intermission.
Oshawa would look to shut the Petes attack down in the 3rd, and in the process, earn D.J. Smith his first OHL victory as a Head Coach. The former Spitfires assistant joins the Generals after six seasons in Windsor, including two Memorial Cup Championships. Smith joins another new face in Oshawa, as Jeff Twohey replaced Chris DiPiero as General Manager over the summer. Twohey would spend 30 years with the Peterborough Petes, including 17 as General Manager, before being let go in 2010.
Sebastian Uvira kept things rolling for the Generals in the 3rd period on Thursday, scoring on a powerplay five minutes into the frame, and giving Oshawa a 5-0 lead that would be too much for Peterborough to overcome. The Petes would score a pair of third period goals from Francis Menard and Stephen Pierog, but it would be Oshawa taking two points on opening night, winning the game by a 5-2 score.
The Generals would return to action the following night, having travelled to Sudbury to face the Wolves in their season opener. Daniel Altshuller would be back in goal for Oshawa, fresh off of his 34 save performance in Peterborough. In the 1st, the Gens would open the scoring for the second straight game, as Boone Jenner would continue his hot start to the season, scoring his 3rd of the year just six minutes in. Tyler Biggs and Michael Dal Colle would both pick up their first OHL Points on the goal. Before the end of the frame, Dominik Kubalik would pull the Wolves even, giving the hometown crowd in Sudbury something to cheer for.
Kubalik would score another goal for Sudbury early in period 2, giving the Wolves a 2-1 lead and forcing the Generals to play from behind for the first time in the season. The deficit would last just seven minutes, as a powerplay marker from Scott Sabourin would pull Oshawa even midway through the middle stanza. Two minutes later, the Wolves would get the lead back, as Nate Pancel would scoop up a loose puck and beat Altshuller.
Despite pressure throughout the 3rd period, the Generals were unable to find the equalizer, and Pancel’s goal would stand up as the game winner. Michael Kantor would add an empty net goal in the final minute, giving the Sudbury Wolves a 4-2 decision, despite being outshot 30-28 on the night.
Oshawa will get a full week to think about the game, as they aren’t back in action until Friday night, when they host the Peterborough Petes in the home opener at the General Motors Centre. The game kicks off a busy weekend for the Gens, who travel to Belleville to battle the Bulls on Saturday, then return home for their first Sunday evening game of the year at the GMC, hosting the Brampton Battalion. Tickets for both the home opener on Friday and Sunday’s contest against Brampton are on sale at the GMC Box Office.
Anthony Nicholson covers the Toronto Maple Leafs and Junior Hockey for Toronto News 24 and OHLWriters.com, and is the Senior Managing Editor of ‘In The O... The Magazine’. Contact Anthony anytime for a conversation by joining him on Twitter @N24Nicholson, or send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Oshawa Generals Captain Boone Jenner led his club this week with three goals and an assist in a pair of games. (Photo courtesy: chlimages.com)