The Oshawa Generals turned to an old reliable and a new one to pull out a 3-1 victory over the Barrie Colts, Jan. 12, at the Barrie Molson Centre.
Kyle Keyser stopped 30 of 31 shots, including a pair of breakaways, and recent acquisition Brett Neumann, with Oshawa (25-15-2-0) on a late four-minute power play in the third period, scored the game winner in a game that featured outstanding goaltending at both ends of the rink.
“We were a little sloppy tonight,” Generals head coach Greg Walters said after the team’s second-straight win. “We thought we played a pretty good first period. Their goalie (Jet Greaves) played extremely well. I think it was 8-2 in chances for us. (Greaves) played well and it was kind of an even game after. We had some really good looks on the power play earlier and were lucky enough to get one there at the end.”
Keyser, fresh off an appearance with the U.S. at the World Junior Hockey Championships, had his usual strong performance. After Barrie’s (18-22-1-0) Ben Hawerchuk and Brandon Saigeon exchanged late first-period goals, the veteran goalie stopped Ryan Suzuki and Jake Partridge on breakaways and made several other key stops.
“In my opinion, he’s the best goalie in the league and I think he proved that tonight,” Walters said. “When the game was on the line, there’s not many better. We gave up some shorthanded breakaways they were getting off our power-plays and Keyser stood tall for us and gave us a chance to win the game.”
Neumann, who was acquired from Erie ahead of the Jan. 10 OHL trade deadline, potted the decisive goal with just 4:17 remaining and then sealed the win with an empty-net shorthanded marker in the final minute. But, a young, rebuilding Colts team, led by a rookie in goal who turned away 34 shots, made things tough on the Generals.
“Barrie lost some good players, but credit to (head coach Dale Hawerchuk) their team worked extremely hard tonight,” Walters said. “Our chemistry is still not there after the trade deadline. We’re a little bit off, but we’re getting there. I thought our defensive game was pretty good. We limited them, five-on-five chances were low, so I really thought we did a good job with that.”
The Colts, who had a second-period goal waved off, had a late chance to draw, even with William Ennis off for slashing and their goaltender pulled.
“We played pretty well,” Hawerchuk said. “We missed a couple of breakaways. Our goalie played well early and gave us a chance, and then had the power play with the goalie out at the end and I thought we just forced it a bit.”
Oshawa will look to make it three straight when they host the Erie Otters Jan. 13 at the Tribute Communities Centre. Puck drop is 6:05 p.m.
Photo: Goaltender Kyle Keyser stopped 30 shots and a pair of shorthanded breakaways to lead the Oshawa Generals to a 3-1 win over the Barrie Colts, Jan. 12, at the Barrie Molson Centre. Terry Wilson/OHL Images