OSHAWA - Cody Payne's second goal of the game at 8:15 of the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and the Plymouth Whalers defeated the Oshawa Generals, 4-2, in an Ontario Hockey League game played Sunday night before 4,046 at General Motors Centre.
The Whalers won all three games on the road over the weekend (2-1 on Thursday in Petereborough, 8-3 in Kingston on Friday and 4-2 in Oshawa tonight) and improves 5-3-2-1. Oshawa remains in first place in the East Division of the Eastern Conference of the OHL and is now 8-4-0-1.
Besides Payne's pair (7th and 8th of the season), Rickard Rakell scored for the third consecutive game (7th) and Ryan Hartman scored his third of the year on the empty net with 18 seconds remaining in regulation. Plymouth goaltender Matt Mahalak continued his good play against Oshawa during his career and stopped 29-of-31 shots as the game's third star.
Compuware Youth Program alum Colin Suellentrop (2nd) and Scott Sabourin (7th) scored power play goals for Oshawa.
With Oshawa trailing 3-2 in the final minute of play and the goaltender pulled, Sabourin appreared to score the equalizer at 19:14, but referee Tom Sweeney waved the goal off after a lengthy discussion with video review personnel. The ruling was Sabourin re-directed the puck into the Plymouth goal with his skate.
The Whalers acquired Payne from Oshawa last November and he haunted his former team as the game's first star. Payne scored the only goal of the first period at 14:50, beating Oshawa captain Boone Jenner in front of the Generals' goal and batting home a rebound from Austin Levi's shot from the high slot.
Oshawa tied the game at 1-1 at 8:24 on Suellentrop's shot from the point that beat Mahalak five-hole. The goal broke Mahalak's presonal shutout streak against Oshawa at 148:24. Previously, Mahalak shut Oshawa 5-0 on Dec. 16, 2011 and 4-0 on Jan. 29, 2011.
The tie latest just 30 seconds as Rakell (+3, playing head-to-head against Jenner) skated hard to the left circle in the Oshawa zone and snapped a backhand past General goaltender Daniel Altshuller.
Later in the period, Oshawa tied the game at 2-2 at 17:22 when Sabourin scored on a rebound in front of Mahalak.
Payne's fine individual effort restored the Plymouth lead to 3-2 at 8:15 of the third period when he stole the puck away from Generals defenseman Chris Carlisle in the left corner in the Oshawa zone, skated to the goal and stuffed the puck past Altshuller.
That set the stage for a wild final minute when Sabourin's re-direct was waved off and Hartman scored on the empty net.
Oshawa outshot Plymouth, 31-26.
The Whalers remain on the road Friday night in London (7:20 p.m., www.plymouthwhalers.com) before returning home Saturday night to host Kitchener at 7:05 p.m. at Compuware Arena (7 p.m. Comcast 900).