Stephen Desrocher's decision to take advice from roommate, billet dad pays off for Generals

The Oshawa Generals defenceman was the overtime hero Sunday against the Quebec Remparts at the Memorial Cup.

QUEBEC CITY — At home in Oshawa, Ont., Michael Dal Colle is always eager to give advice. His roommate, Generals defenceman Stephen Desrocher, doesn’t always – or ever – seem to pay attention to those nuggets of goal-scoring wisdom.

“He doesn’t like to listen to me anyway,” said Dal Colle, Oshawa’s leading scorer in the regular and postseason. “He kind of does his own thing.”

The feeling, says Desrocher, is mutual when he tries to give his two cents on Dal Colle’s defensive game.

“We’re roommates so we’re always harassing each other and chirping each other here and there,” said Desrocher. “We try to give each other pointers but it doesn’t sink in – in one ear and out the other.”

On Sunday night, however, it was Desrocher who was the offensive threat for Oshawa, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to edge the Quebec Remparts 5-4. Generals centre Cole Cassels won a faceoff in the Quebec zone with the puck going back to Desrochers. The undrafted 19-year-old eluded Quebec Remparts centre Kurt Etchegary and then fired a shot from inside the left faceoff circle which hit the crossbar and dropped behind goalie Zach Fucale.

“Usually the top forwards on our team get those big goals,” said the 6-foot-4, 198-pound blueliner. “It’s kind of a surprise, but it’s a great feeling.”

Oddly enough, after scoring the winner Desrocher said he had to give a little credit to Dal Colle, because of something the Generals star forward had repeatedly been telling him. Subconsciously, some of those words had rubbed off.

“Dal Colle always tells me, ‘You’ve got to shoot to score’, that’s his favourite line,” said Desrocher, who billets at the home of Glenda and Al Duncan.

“Him and my billet dad always say that, so I can give them credit (for the goal).”

The defenceman’s moves with 1:53 remaining in the overtime even left Dal Colle, who also scored for the Generals, impressed.

“It was a great individual effort,” said Dal Colle, the fifth overall pick of the New York Islanders in 2014. “Beating (Etchegary) there off the draw and then shooting bar down. It was kind of a whirlwind, but that’s great for him … I was very happy.

“He’s awesome and the confidence is growing in his game. If he doesn’t get drafted this year, I think he should sign a (pro) contract. He’s been absolutely unbelievable for us and it’s a huge goal.”

Oshawa Generals Tobias Lindberg celebrates his teammate Stephen Desrocher's game-winning goal against the Quebec Remparts during the overtime period of their Memorial Cup hockey game at the Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, May 24, 2015. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger
Oshawa Generals Tobias Lindberg celebrates his teammate Stephen Desrocher's game-winning goal against the Quebec Remparts during the overtime period of their Memorial Cup hockey game at the Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, May 24, 2015. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

Desrocher called the goal the biggest of his hockey career.

“I was the lucky guy to get the final one," said the Toronto native. "I knew I didn't have a shooting lane at first and I tried to get around a guy and just tried to get it on net and it went in."

The victory was Oshawa’s second straight and guaranteed the Ontario Hockey League champs a place in the Memorial Cup semifinal. A win by Rimouski on Monday night against the Kelowna Rockets would give the Generals a spot in the final.

The Remparts fell to 1-1, despite a valiant effort by Fucale, who faced 50 shots during the course of the game - 18 in the overtime period.

“He was really, really good,” said Generals coach D.J. Smith. “Sometimes it’s easier to play that way when you’re getting shot after shot after shot than it is to sit there like (Oshawa goalie Ken Appleby) for long periods of time without a shot and then all of a sudden get a high-end chance.”

The Remparts had the victory in their hands late in the third period, leading Oshawa 4-3 with roughly five minutes left in regulation. Quebec forward Guillaume Gauthier took a bad checking-to-the-head penalty that allowed the Generals to get back into the game. Tobias Lindberg, an Ottawa Sentators prospect, scored to tie the game with 2:09 left on the clock to silence the announced crowd of 10,970 at the Colisee.

The loss was the third straight OT defeat for the Remparts, who dropped two extra-time games to Rimouski in the QMJHL final. The most crushing blow came in double overtime during Game 7 of the President’s Cup final where they lost the title to the Oceanic on the road.

“(The Generals) had a few good chances in overtime, but we had ours, too,” said Remparts defenceman Ryan Graves, who lost a triple overtime heartbreaker in last year’s Memorial Cup as a member of the Val-d’Or Foreurs.

“It was a nice shot (to win the game).”