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Recap: Generals @ 67's Jan. 20/12

Two of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference would do battle on Friday night, as the Ottawa 67’s played host to the Oshawa Generals. Petr Mrazek would be called on in goal for the 67’s, replacing Michael Nishi who played Thursday night in Peterborough. The Generals would counter with Dan Altshuller in goal, after Kevin Bailie played in both the team’s games last weekend.

From the onset, the Generals knew this would be a tough game, heading into Ottawa just one night after the 67’s dismantled the Petes 9-4. Altshuller, playing in Ottawa in front of friends and family, was going to be counted on heavily, and was up to the task early on, making a number of key saves as the teams exchanged chances.

A first period fight between Scott Sabourin and Ottawa Captain Marc Zanetti was the highlight of a relatively quiet opening frame, until the final minute, when, with the Generals killing a late penalty to Sebastian Uvira, Oshawa would capitalize on a turnover in the neutral zone. Boone Jenner would cross the 67’s blueline and slide a pass to a trailing Nicklas Jensen, who made a slick move around Jake Cardwell and blasted a shot past Mrazek.

The shorthanded goal would put Oshawa ahead at the intermission, but Ottawa would strike on the same powerplay early in the 2nd, when Zanetti’s shot from the point found its way through a crowd and past Altshulller, evening things up just 30 seconds in. 44 seconds later, the 67’s would take the lead, when John McFarland would take a feed at the Oshawa blueline and rip a shot high over Altshuller. The bad start would be just a sign of things to come for the Generals in period 2, and would be enough for Coach Gary Agnew to pull Altshuller from the net, replacing him with Bailie just long enough to have a conversation with his young goaltender. Once the conversation ended, Altshuller would return to the Oshawa net, where things would settle down over the next ten minutes.

Just over midway through the 2nd, the Generals would tie things up, when Lucas Lessio’s feed to Boone Jenner would be deflected past Mrazek by Ottawa’s defenceman Zanetti. While the fortunate goal would give Oshawa some life, a penalty to Jenner would take it away, as Ottawa would retake the lead on a Cody Ceci powerplay goal with just over four minutes left in the period.

From there, the wheels came off for the Generals, and Ottawa would pretty well score at will for much of the rest of the game. 39 seconds after the Ceci goal, Steven Janes would double the 67’s lead, finding another hole in Altshuller’s armour. The 67’s would add another before the end of the middle stanza, when Jake Cardwell would jump on a rebound in the slot and strike for a powerplay marker with just seven seconds remaining. After a five goal period, the Ottawa 67’s would take a three goal lead to the break, while the Generals would look to regroup, and find a way to overcome the deficit.

Coach Agnew was busy at work again during the intermission, as Kevin Bailie would replace Altshuller in goal once again, this time for keeps. A new goalie would produce the same results for the Generals, as they would be beaten for another goal, just 1:05 into the final period. This time, Tyler Toffoli would score his 35th of the season, as he would bank the puck off of the skate of Gens newcomer Julian Melchiori and past Bailie. Sebastian Uvira would get a goal back for the Generals five minutes later, striking at the end of an Oshawa powerplay, but that would be the end of the Generals offence.

In the game’s final ten minutes, the 67’s would strike for another couple of goals, with Dalton Smith and Janes’ 2nd of the game extending their lead to 8-3, which would be the game’s final score. Oshawa would outshoot Ottawa on the night by a 42-37 count, but were stymied time and time again by Petr Mrazek who was excellent in the victory, stopping 39 shots.

With the loss, the Oshawa Generals remain three points behind the Belleville Bulls for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Ottawa 67’s extend their lead atop the conference to two points over the Brampton Battalion. The Generals won’t have long to dwell on the tough loss, as they are back in action Saturday night, hosting the Kingston Frontenacs at 7pm. The 67’s now have a day off, before playing a Sunday afternoon matinee at home to the Kitchener Rangers.

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