OTTERS 6, GENERALS 1: A fun night at the good old hockey game
ERIE, PA -- Otters head coach Robbie Ftorek probably said it best: "every puck looks like a basketball for this guy."
After a 49-save performance from his goaltender, Oscar Dansk, it's easy to see why. He was the story of the game, the No. 1 star, and the No. 1 reason why Erie outlasted a far better team tonight.
Two clubs headed in different directions clashed tonight at the Erie Insurance Arena, and ironically enough, they seemed to be going in different directions after the game, too. Oshawa started fast, tapered off in the middle and got discouraged down the stretch as the Otters scratched out a 6-1 win on home ice.
Despite the lopsided final score, it felt as if this tilt was in the balance all the way through.
Erie didn't look like a last-place club tonight, and conversely, the Generals were good at times but didn't play like the stalwarts they've been in the first 20 games of the OHL season.
Hockey can be funny like that sometimes.
It was also a snake-bitten kind of night for Boone Jenner, who has been one of the best players in junior hockey in 2012-13. He's played a lot of hockey lately (taking part in the CHL Subway Super Series on Thursday night, then joining the Generals for two games this weekend) but the engine was still humming along in the third period.
Jenner -- as he's been on most nights this year -- was the best player on the ice aside from No. 38 in white (don't let the -4 fool you in the box score), and Oshawa coach D.J. Smith showed no hesitation in double-shifting his captain in the third period to try and get a goal to turn the tide.
"The next goal" never came to fruition for Oshawa, but Jenner did his part to make things happen. Early in the third period, with the Generals trailing by two goals and needing a spark, Jenner engineered a shift of nearly two minutes -- entirely spent in the Erie end of the ice.
Dansk was equal to the task, and his performance on that shift may have deflated the Generals for good. Whenever they seemed to get something going, the young Swedish netminder was even quicker in snuffing it out.
For Oshawa, it was one of those nights where you tip your cap to the guy playing in net and move on to the next game.
Some assorted notes before we call it a night:
-- Connor McDavid, just 15 years of age, is a legitimate talent. He made two incredible plays in this game to create goals: first it was getting the puck to the net through a maze of bodies in the second period, leading to a goal from line mate J.P. Labardo. Second, it was stealing the puck behind the Oshawa net, walking out in front and scoring a beautiful goal on a wrap-around.
-- McDavid's good, and he's only going to get better. That's scary.
-- Really like Tyler Biggs (a native of suburban Cincinnati) on Jenner's wing. Those two have played together pretty much all season, and Jenner told me post-game he really likes how they've developed a solid rapport on the ice.
-- Oshawa can't be happy with the Otters' offensive efficiency: they scored their first three goals on just 11 shots, and finished with six goals on 19 shots altogether.
-- Fun atmosphere tonight, and that's what will stick with me. The fans were really into the game and you can tell they appreciate the quality of hockey. They've taken a strong liking to that McDavid kid, too. Can't blame them.