Fierce fires – just his specialty

 

 

     
Zador is 'Lightning' in a bottle
October 14, 2009
John Padulo (14) of the Oshawa Generals takes on Corey Durocher (22) of the Kingston Frontenacs for the puch during Monday's Ontario Hockey League contest at the GM Centre.

By Wally Donaldson
The Oshawa Express

There is word around Tampa Bay that unlike the more popular Maple Leafs, the Lightning are stockpiled with goaltending talent which includes Antero Nittymaki, 30, who has been lighting it up of late and prospect Riku Helenius.

Make no mistake, commented one Tampa scout last Monday at the GM Centre, Generals netminder Michael Zador remains high on the Lightning radar as the National Hockey League (NHL) squad pays close attention to its future.
And there is nothing Zador, acquired last season from the London Knights, would like better than to impress his current junior coach in Oshawa and certainly his prospective future bench boss in the sunny south down the road.
After a shaky start to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) campaign, the 6-foot-2 Toronto native showcased his true talent during the holiday weekend by spearheading the Generals to a pair of successive victories, including a solid 7-2 win Monday over a proficient Doug Gilmour coached Kingston Frontenacs.
Tag on an equally impressive 3-0 shutout last Friday at home to the Erie Otters and Zador just might be on the heels of providing the puck stopping leadership Oshawa skipper Chris DePiero has craved since Thursday’s 6-5 meltdown in Barrie when the Generals coughed up a 5-1 lead to the Colts with Kevin Bailie between the pipes.
“I was a little tired when I came back from the (Tampa) camp,” says Zador, perhaps as an explanation to a rough start when he was pulled in the season opener for Bailie against the Peterborough Petes.

“The NHL has faster players and it made me more aware of things when I was up there. They’re bigger and stronger and your knowledge of what’s happening has to be much quicker. I still have to work on the quickness of the shots and positioning myself better to cover more of the net. This is obviously a good start for me.”
Generals got off to a banner start against Kingston with three first-period goals, two on the powerplay against a club sporting the best penalty kill in the circuit to this point.
Generals led 4-0 after 40 minutes and one couldn’t help but think Zador might be in line for a second consecutive shutout.


 

That was dashed in the third when Ethan Werek caught Zador down and a blast to the top glove shelf snapped the goose egg.
Christian Thomas fired two goals to pace the Generals. Blueliner Calvin de Haan, Boone Jenner, Conor Stokes and Jeff Hayes all had a goal and a helper. Nick Esposto had the other Oshawa tally.
“There was a hard lesson to learn after what happened in Barrie and we needed to talk about resiliency and the character of our team,” noted DePiero. “It was great to pitch a shutout on Friday after two good practices, we came out and played the way we are capable of (against the Frontenacs).”

Generals head on the road for their next four outings, beginning tonight in Belleville. “Michael (Zador) is playing well and he’ll be in the net at Belleville,” says DePiero. “You go through a stretch when you wonder who is grabbing the reins. Kevin (Bailie) went four games in a row and I wasn’t really dissatisfied with his play prior to Barrie. We needed a change and credit to Michael. He gets a shutout one night and allows only two goals (against Kingston). I like the way he’s played and we’re giving him the ball.”
Generals are in Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie this weekend and in Guelph on Friday, October 23. They return to the GM Centre on Sunday, October 25 with the Sarnia Sting in town, starting at 6:05 p.m.

 


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