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Gens take a 'good kick in the teeth'

Oshawa goaltender Michael Zador has Nicholas Foglia of the Ottawa 67’s at his doorstep during Monday’s OHL contest at the GM Centre.

By Wally Donaldson/The Oshawa Express

It was only natural that Oshawa’s talented defenceman Calvin de Haan would enter this year’s pro camp with the New York Islanders on a high note.

Granted, his season last year with the Generals was cut short after only 34 outings on the heels of  a collision along the boards during a regular-season tilt with the Saginaw Spirit. Up to that point, the 19-year-old Carp native had compiled a nifty five goals and 24 points.

Undoubtedly, it was a season designed to serve notice from a personal perspective.

And once signed to a three-year entry level contract last May with the Isles, the 2009 first-round draft pick, enhanced by 15 additional pounds during the summer, planned on making his added bulk a weapon in New York.

“My goal was to make the team,” said de Haan following the Generals’ 4-3 setback to the Ottawa 67’s, their first regulation loss of the campaign, last Monday afternoon at the GM Centre before 3,816 patrons. “I got caught in a numbers game. They had eight or nine (defencemen),  Mark (Streit) was on a one-way contract and that kinda sucks for me.

“Once they signed a couple of other guys during camp, I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen.”

The Islanders entered the free agency market by signing Mark Eaton and Milan Jurcina which unquestionably put de Haan on the backburner prior to the start of the NHL season.

And though plans for de Haan have been altered, his return to the Generals, especially with the captain’s ‘C’ on the jersey, takes on a responsibility he’s eagerly willing to accept.

“I want to be a leader here, so it’s a good thing,” he observes. “What I can do is get stronger over the season and come in stronger for next camp in New York.”

de Haan played his first game with the Generals in a wild 8-7 shootout loss in Kingston against the Frontenacs last Friday evening. Generals trailed 7-2 at one point, but rallied to tie the contest prior to the end of regulation play.

“Having Calvin back is huge in a lot of ways,” beams Oshawa head coach Chris DePiero. “His leadership and presence are attributes we expect from him After all, he’s got the ‘C’ and he’s the guy.”

With an acute changeover of player personnel from last season, DePiero notes it will take de Haan a while to latch on with his new teammates.

“He’ll have a week of practice with them. We’re throwing him into the fire. That’s the way it goes, but we can now get him into a regular routine of what we have going,” observes DePiero.

Generals were forced in to a comeback situation once again on Monday when the 67’s rang up three unanswered first-period goals and held a 4-1 margin at one point of the middle frame. All scoring was confined to the first two periods.

Tyler Toffoli, Thomas Nesbitt, Cody Lindsay and Ryan Martindale tallied for the 67’s. Alain Berger fired two goals for the Generals with Boone Jenner adding the other goal. Christian Thomas turned in a solid effort with three assists.

“Too little, too late,” offered DePiero of Oshawa’s inability to bust out of the gate. “We’ve got to do a better job of being ready to compete and do the things we need to do right off the bat. A weekend like this was a good kick in the teeth.”

Generals have a busy weekend ahead, starting Friday night in Oshawa against the Sarnia Sting. They travel to Niagara on Saturday before returning to the GM Centre Sunday evening for a contest with the Saginaw Spirit.

WALLY WORLD – Christian Thomas had three goals for the Generals (4-1-0-1) in Kingston with Boone Jenner contributing a pair. Andy Andreoff and Boone Jenner, also with four assists, rounded out the scoring.

 

 


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