Oshawa Generals oust Erie Otters, clinch OHL championship

Oshawa is the first Eastern Conference OHL champion since 2006 (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)
Oshawa is the first Eastern Conference OHL champion since 2006 (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

Cole Cassels, Matt Mistele and the entire Oshawa Generals crew brought the curtain down on the Connor McDavid show.

Cassels had tour assists, giving him a series-high 12 points, to help the Generals beat the McDavid-led Erie Otters 6-2 at General Motors Place to complete a five-game win in the Ontario Hockey League championship. Mistele also his team-high 13th post-season goal when the Generals, backed by a crowd of 6,000-plus, scored thrice in the first five minutes of the second period to force McDavid and the Otters to play catch-up mode.

"I love these guys to death," Cassels, a Vancouver Canucks signing, told Sportsnet 360. "It was a total team effort to shut down Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters. I couldn't be more proud of this team. He's the best player in the world. We had to try to get in his grille and get him off his game."

It's the Generals' OHL-record 13th title, but first since 1997. It was also the first by an Eastern Conference team since the Peterborough Petes triumphed in 2006. The win completes the Memorial Cup field with Kelowna, Quebec and Rimouski. Oshawa will face Rimouski in its tournament opener on May 23.

Generals coach D.J. Smith was part of the Windsor Spitfires coaching staff when they won the Memorial Cup at Rimouski in 2009, beginning a two-year reign. The OHL has not had a Cup winner since the 2010 Spitfires, with Mississauga (2011), London ('12) and Guelph ('14) falling short in the final.


The story of the series was how the Generals, led by the likes of Cassels, checker Bradley Latour and overage defencemen Dakota Mermis and Josh Brown, held McDavid to only one assist during the three games in Oshawa. The phenom finished with 49 points overall in in 20 playoff games, just two shy of the OHL single-playoff record shared by Jason Dawe of the 1993 Petes and Justin Papineau of the 1999 Belleville Bulls.

Goalie Ken Appleby also stymied McDavid several times, making a breakaway save on the Otters' captain  on the shift following Latour's tack-on tally with 5:23 left in the game.

Calgary Flames signing Hunter Smith contributed a response goal in the first period, 43 seconds after the Otters had taken their first lead on the road during the series. Smith also sprung Latour on a breakaway for the clincher.

Cassels' dominant series gave him 31 points, tying him for the team lead with New York Islanders first-rounder Michael Dal Colle. Each was cut from his country's national junior team in December, as was Montreal Canadiens signing Michael McCarron, who chipped in a goal on Friday.

The Generals limited the Otters to only two third-period goals in the entire series and also handed them their only back-to-back losses with McDavid in the lineup. Oshawa also joined the Niagara IceDogs as the only teams to hold McDavid without a point twice.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.