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Shooting Blanks

March 6, 2014
By

March 5, 2014 – Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Mississauga Steelheads

MISSISSAUGA, ON – The top six teams in the Eastern Conference have already clinched their spots in the 2014 OHL Playoffs; with six points separating seventh and tenth places, the final two playoff berths are very much up in the air. Heading into Tuesday night’s game at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre, the Mississauga Steelheads held the seventh-place tiebreaker over the Niagara IceDogs, with the Ottawa 67’s on the outside looking in – setting the stage for the biggest game of the 2013-2014 OHL Season thus far.

With both Mississauga’s Spencer Martin and Ottawa’s Phillipe Trudeau being among the leaders in shots faced, a shootout was expected between the Steelheads and 67’s; it got underway very early. Just 1:23 into the first period, the OHL’s leading rookie scorer was sprung on a breakaway; Travis Konecny made no mistake, giving Ottawa the early lead. Mississauga fought back on offense, taking advantage of a couple of 67’s power plays to generate pucks on net. Josh Burnside came close to tying the game on the game’s second power play, but was turned away by Trudeau. Mississauga’s penalty kill got it’s first taste of action midway through the first, however a great effort by Martin would keep the 67’s off the board until late in the period. Taking a pass before breaking in, Ottawa’s Dante Salituro outwaited the Steelheads defense, beating Martin to make it 2-0 with under five minutes to play in the period. Ottawa would find themselves with a chance to extend their lead further on another power play, however Martin would once again come up big, sending Mississauga into the break trailing by two, despite outshooting Ottawa 13-7.

Looking to get back into the game right out of the intermission, the Steelheads came out firing in the second. They would come close to tying it, ringing a crossbar early, but Damian Bourne would finally get Mississauga on the board at the 4:16 mark of the second. Bourne snuck his shot between the post and Trudeau’s pad for his fifth goal of the season, with assists to Stefan LeBlanc and Andres Kopstals. After Ottawa came back with a Taylor Fielding breakaway, Martin’s big stop sent the Steelheads back down the ice where they thought they tied the game. Unfortunately, after Greg DiTomaso thought he had converted a Lucas Venuto pass, the referees deemed that the puck was illegally directed in, waving off the tying marker. Despite keeping the pressure on both the body and the net, it was Ottawa who would strike next, as Salituro would once again convert an individual effort to make it 3-1 Ottawa. Two minutes later, Konecny would find himself on another breakaway, once again making no mistake in stretching the lead to 4-1 Ottawa with five minutes to play in the second. Unwilling to go quietly however, Jared Walsh would fix a broken play by throwing a sharp angle shot on net, beating Trudeau for his fifth of the season, with assists going to Venuto and Jesse Barwell. Despite the late goal, Mississauga would still find themselves heading into the intermission down 4-2, although outshooting Ottawa 31-17.

Needing a huge effort to get back into the game, the Steelheads came out shooting once again, and dominating the play. Despite the pucks on net, Ottawa’s Phillipe Trudeau turned puck after puck away through the majority of the period. The Steelheads would finally get one past him with under five minutes to play in the period; after Andrew Goldberg carried the puck down low and fed it off to Josh Burnside, Burnside would grab his own rebound and feed it cross-crease to a pinching Sean Day, who would bury his fifth of the season to pull the Trout within one late in the game. With Ottawa looking to respond immediately, Ryan Van Stralen found himself with a step on a Mississauga defender, however he put the puck wide, giving the Steelheads hope. Sure enough, the effort paid off for Mississauga as with under 80 seconds to go, Sean Day fired his second goal in less than four minutes past Trudeau, tying the game for Mississauga. Stefan LeBlanc and Brett Foy picked up the assists on the goal as Ottawa iced and clawed their way to an extra period with the shots in Mississauga’s favour, 45-20. 

With a point each, the teams could breathe a little easier, having knocked the IceDogs down to ninth-place, but neither team let up. Sean Day continued on the attack, putting two quick shots on net to push the 67’s back on to their heels, and Spencer Martin continued his strong play between the pipes. Bryson Cianfrone would emerge as the hero of the overtime period however, after a shift that saw him block a hard shot, fight his way back to his feet to intercept a pass and then generate a near-game-winning scoring chance at the other end of the ice. Less than a minute later, he found himself nearly ending the game on his own, however great play by Trudeau would keep Ottawa in it, sending the game to a shootout despite a final shot count of 51-24 in favour of the Trout.

Ottawa elected to shoot first, and Brendan Bell made no mistake in giving them the early shootout lead. Unable to continue his heroics, Cianfrone could not convert on his shot, before Konecny scored on his own opportunity to make it 2-0. With the game riding on Goldberg’s stick, he would be unable to find the back of the net, as Ottawa salvaged the extra point through the shootout.

Sean Day was named second star of the game for his late-game heroics, despite the Steelheads loss. With the result, the Eastern Conference PLAYOFF PICTURE shifted in Ottawa’s favour:

(7) Ottawa 67’s [23-25-2-3, 51 Points]; 5 Games Remaining — Max Points: 61

@PBO, vs. KNG, vs. BAR, @KNG, @NB

(8) MISSISSAUGA STEELHEADS [23-25-1-4, 51 Points]; 5 Games Remaining — Max Points: 61

vs. NB, @KNG, @(8)NIA, vs. (8)NIA, vs. KNG

(9) Niagara IceDogs [21-33-3-5, 50 Points]; 6 Games Remaining — Max Points: 62

vs. PLY, vs. BAR, @PBO, vs. (7)MIS, @(7)MIS, vs. PBO

UP NEXT

The Mississauga Steelheads return to action this Friday night at 7:30 PM, as Enersource presents our matchup against the North Bay Battalion! Panera Bread will be on hand with great samples as we look to pick up a big two points towards extending our campaign!

Great seats are still available for Friday’s game by logging on to Ticketmaster or visiting the Hershey Centre Box Office!

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Ontario Hockey League Stories from March 5, 2014

  • Erie Cruises over Plymouth, 11-2 – Erie Otters
  • Wolves Announce February Player of the Month Award – Sudbury Wolves
  • 2014 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament Competing Teams Announced – OHL
  • Frontenacs Fast Facts – Kingston Frontenacs
  • Eric Staal Game Worn Jersey Auction Closes Today – Peterborough Petes
  • Port Perry Predators Win a Training Day with the Kitchener Rangers – Kitchener Rangers
  • Redblacks Announce Broadcast Agreement – Ottawa 67’s
  • Shooting Blanks – Mississauga Steelheads
  • Wolves Host Colts Bulls – Sudbury Wolves

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

Article source: http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=4747245

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