For a second consecutive game the Oshawa Generals were unable to put together 60 minutes of quality hockey.
On Friday they lost 7-4 to the Erie Otters after allowing four goals in the second.
“There are challenges for any team to play a full 60 minutes,” said head coach Bob Jones. “Today, when we are playing one of the best teams in Canada, it’s a game of adjustments, and they found some holes in our neutral zone.”
Hosting an Otters (8-0) team that entered Generals Motors Centre undefeated this season, the defensive shortcomings continued for the Generals.
“It’s a credit to them,” said Jones. “They are an experienced team, they got to the finals last year and they have a lot of returning players, especially their forwards. They found some holes and they took advantage of it.”
But the home team would make a push in the third, scoring twice in quick succession to make it a one-goal game with 13 minutes left. Sam Harding and Cireli led the charge, energizing the arena and bringing life to a home team that could easily have rolled over.
“We dug in, we fought back and made it a game” said the head coach. “I thought there was a couple of missed calls and that could have been the difference in the game.”
Oshawa had a great opportunity to get on the board first when Matt Mistele found himself with a wide open net in the low slot, but rung the puck off the post.
For an offence struggling to consistently get goals, Mistele’s missed opportunity early in the game proved very costly.
“A couple of bounces in the first period and we could’ve had the lead easily,” said the coach. “We didn’t the score, and that’s been the routine this year. It’s a challenge to score sometimes, but even with the score 5-2 we didn’t lay over.”
With five minutes left in the first, the Otters broke the tie. Jake Marchment scored on the powerplay, Vanya Lodnia and Nick Betz getting assists on the play.
Entering the second period the visitors held a 1-0 lead while outshooting their opponents 12-9.
The second frame got off to a quick start, Oshawa’s Kenny Huether quickly tying the game with his skate. Upon review the goal would stand, Anthony Cirelli and Stephen Desrocher chipping in on the play.
Marchment continued to carry the visiting team, converting on Erie’s next rush up the ice. A snapshot from the low slot, the goal was his second of the game and fifth of the season. Darren Raddish and Dylan Strome got the assists.
The 20-year-old wasted no time completing his hat trick. Playing in front of family and friends, the Ajax native converted his fourth shot on net, tapping in a juicy rebound past Liam Devine.
“This is probably the best offensive team we’ve faced,” said Jones about the undefeated Otters. “We made a couple of defensive mistakes and these guys put it away.
“That was a learning curve for us,” he added. “For the most part I was happy with our effort, I was happy that they dug in, but I was not happy with the results of course.”
With the floodgates open, Erie made it three unanswered goals. Jordan Sambrook netted his second of the season assisted by Alex DeBrincat and Strome.
Taylor Raddish would add a late goal in the period to make the score 5-2 for the visitors.
For a second game in a row the Generals failed to compete for a full 60 minutes. Facing the North Bay Batallion the evening prior, Oshawa conceded five goals in the third period.
Making matters worse for the Generals, their most important player was once again sidelined with a lower body injury. Goaltender Jeremy Brodeur has been ailing since Monday after posting his fourth shutout of the season.
“Its day-to-day,” said the coach. “We will evaluate him tomorrow, I think he will come on the ice and skate a bit and see how it is. If he gives me a thumbs up we will make a goalie decision at that point.”