In front of goaltending royalty, Lucas Peressini and Logan Gauthier were perfect through 60 minutes.
With Martin Brodeur in the stands, it was only fitting that Sunday’s contest between the Oshawa Generals and the Kingston Frontenacs came down to a tight defensive battle highlighted by some incredible saves on both ends of the ice.
But it was Peressini who managed to stay perfect, making 35 stops en route to a 1-0 win for the Frontenacs (5-2-2-1).
It was the fifth time this season that an Oshawa net minder did not allow a goal in regulation. The previous four times it was Jeremy Brodeur who managed to stop every shot, but tonight it was a rookie who shut it down in the crease.
“It was fun. I started off well, I was really calm and the team played really well in front of me,” said Gauthier, following his first OHL start. “I found out I would start yesterday after practice. I slept pretty well, and like I said, I just wanted to stay calm, do what I usually do and come into the game and give it my best.”
Going into overtime it was clear that scoring would be a challenge for both teams. A terrible giveaway by the Generals (4-5-1-1) left Spencer Watson with the puck in the slot. The right-winger made no mistake, lifting the puck over Gauthier’s glove for the game winner.
“I thought our goaltending was strong, our defence was strong, I thought our overall game was strong, but we didn’t get the result we needed at home,” said coach Bob Jones. “A point is great but it’s not the result we are looking for at home.”
The first period was filled with chances at both ends of the ice, Guathier making a great glove save on the first shot of the contest that would set the tone for the rest of the game.
Outshooting the visitors 14-10 in the first, the Generals were very aggressive on the defensive end, intimidating the Frontenac’s players with a couple of big hits along the boards.
With the home team in control of the contest, a beautiful pass appeared to give the Generals the 1-0 lead.
Jacob Graves fed from the point to Joe Manchurek who was standing in the low slot. The right-winger tapped it in past Peressini, but the play was instantly under the review.
An offside call was missed on the play, the puck leaving the offensive zone before Graves got control of it.
“I haven’t been happy this year with the offside calling in our home rink,” said Jones. “I’m not saying they are doing a poor job, but there is an excessive amount of offsides being called here.
“I know the league review every goal, so they are certainly protected by the rule now. They miss one tonight, we score a goal and it gets taken back,” he added laughing. “It worked in reverse here in a home game.”
Making the end of the first even more dramatic, a brawl ensued in front of Kingston’s bench after the whistle was blown.
The home team continued their strong and aggressive style of play in the second frame, delivering crushing hits along the boards all period long.
Once again the goalies stood tall, stopping all 16 shots in the period.
It was another fight that energized the building, Cody Caron and Riley Stillman dropped the gloves hoping to swing momentum for their team. Following the bout, Stillman appeared to hit his head on the ice and was unable to stand on his own, needing help skating off the ice.
“I just thought Stillman’s helmet got pulled off,” said the head coach, who erupted on the referees following the fight. “We have to make sure when there is altercations we have the right call and that is something our league really looks into.
“You can’t pull people’s helmets off in altercations. My opinion, Caron pulled his helmet off but the referees said it happened in the fight.
It was a frightening scene, but Stillman is okay according to coach Jones.