Whenever called upon, Boone Jenner has been there to ignite his team.
The Oshawa Generals have been on a bit of a roller coaster so far this season, starting red-hot out of the gate with a 7-3-0 record and holding down first place in the Ontario Hockey League's East Division. While they weren't projected to be a power house by any of the junior hockey pundits, the Generals got the job done by blending a high-powered offense with quality goaltending.
Not only have they defied the odds and occupied top spot for much of the season (especially in a division with with Belleville and Kingston, two favored teams), the Generals have shown an ability to bounce back from rough stretches and get back on track.
And, not surprisingly, Jenner has been at the crux of their early-season success. The 19-year-old is their captain and best player, but also a fourth-year General who has gradually evolved into a dominant two-way center.
His ability to score goals in just about every way possible has been impressive, but it's also when he scores that is boosting Oshawa. Jenner always seems to be scoring the "put-away goal" or a goal to tie the game at exactly the right moment -- the mark of a leader and a player that any coach feels comfortable tapping on the shoulder at crucial points in a game.
We're only 28 games into the OHL season, and Jenner has tallied a league-best 25 goals thus far -- four more than Dallas Stars prospect Brett Ritchie, who plays for the Niagara IceDogs.
His 25 goal total is three more than last year in a 43-game, injury-shortened campaign. And they're starting to come in bunches.
Jenner is currently riding a four-game goal scoring streak, and three of his last four outings have been multi-goal games. He has scored two goals or more in a game five times in the month of November and has registered 19 points in 14 games this month.
The Generals are back on the upswing, too, having won three straight games and four of their last five overall. They're back in first place over Belleville, and it doesn't appear to be coincidence that Jenner's electrifying month has played a role in Oshawa's resurgence.
As Dan Patrick once said, he's simply "en fuego."
Hockey Canada is undoubtedly thrilled with Jenner's start, and it's a pretty safe bet he will be an anchor for Team Canada at the World Juniors tournament in Russia. In the past, he has been used as a match-up center for Canada, but with growing confidence in the goal-scoring department, Jenner could be a valuable jack-of-all-trades.
Sometimes, it's hard to believe this kid was a second-round pick in the 2011 draft, but his development and evolution into one of the most exciting prospects in the Blue Jackets organization is no surprise to those who know him best.
Jenner told us a few weeks ago that he sees every day as an opportunity to get better, and so far, he's done just that.