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Three Points for Three Games in Four Days

OAKVILLE, ON - OCTOBER 7: Sean Clarke #11 of the Oakville Blades scores a goal during the second period at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex on October 7, 2023 in Ontario, Canada (Spencer Smye / OJHL Images)

By Ty Brooks

 

About the 3 games this week:

Your Blades played 3 games in 4 days this past week and were able to grab some valuable points as we push closer to the end of 2023. All games being road games, the team was on the move all week, first to Leamington on Thursday, Mississauga on Saturday and to top it all off, a rivalry matchup in Milton. Here’s a look at how the squad performed over the past few games.

 

Dec. 7th @ Leamington Flyers

Blades Top Players:

Clarke 1G, 1A

McCarthy 32/34 SVS .941 SV%

Johnston 1G

 

For the first time in history, the Oakville Blades made the trip down south to the Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre to play a game against the Leamington Flyers. The 2nd meeting between these two teams this season garnered an impressive 724 fans down at Leamington’s home barn, and it was a deservingly close game for the fans.

 

Everything from the shots and goals, to the penalties and goaltender performances were very even, creating a competitive hockey atmosphere. Even with all this back-and-forth that would be played, it didn’t stop the scoring from starting quickly. At both 2:55 and 8:56 of the 1st period, Leamington would score the opening and following goal to take a quick 2-0 lead over Oakville. This was not the optimal position to be in against a team that was on a 3 game win streak, with one of the best goal differentials in the league. The period began to wind down when co-captain Clarke would swoop in and cut the deficit in half. Fellow members of the leadership group Jeriah Shantz and Gleb Akimov would be credited with assisting the goal.

 

Despite a combined 24 shots in the 2nd period, the most of any period in this game, and an extreme amount of roughing penalties, no man advantages were able to be transferred onto the scoresheet as a goal. The goalies started, and remained, strong throughout this 20 minute interval and the Blades headed into the 3rd period still looking for that elusive goal.

 

Much of the 3rd period was played with no goals and shots were at game long low as the Flyers tried their best to put this one away. Chances to score were wearing thin as we passed the halfway mark and then quickly there were only 5 minutes left. Then, at 16:55 of the 3rd period, the Leamington Flyers were called for a boarding penalty. This would surely be the last good chance the team had to pull even, and at 17:05 that’s exactly what they did. Who else would score other than your leading goal scorer Luke Johnston? He adds another power play goal to his nice collection, with Clarke and Akimov grabbing assists.

 

As we headed into overtime, nobody was sure how things would play out. Just like the rest of the game, the first frame of extra time was even, and that includes the goalies who stayed strong and made sure there were no goals in the first 5 minutes of OT. The same cannot be said for the second period of overtime. The shots were 6-1 in favour of Leamington due to an untimely tripping penalty from Oakville. However, despite all this overtime action, another goal was not scored, and this resulted in the final score remaining 2-2 marking the first tie for Oakville this season. Each team will receive a point, and it’s off to Mississauga next.

 

Dec. 9th @ Mississauga Chargers 

Blades Top Players:

Christensen 22/22 SVS 1.000 SV%

Bonsteel 1G

Indovina 1G

 

In their second game on the road this week, the Blades headed east this time as they worked their way over to the Port Credit Memorial Arena. The second meet-up of the year with the Chargers resulted in even better results for the Blades than the first time.

 

It started in the first period with back-to-back power play tallies early in the game at 3:42 and 7:46. The first goal of the game came off the stick of forward Gleb Akimov as he showed off his intelligence by waiting for the goalie to overcommit to the cross ice pass, before stepping around him for an easy goal. While the first goal came from in tight, Eric Bonsteel’s marker came from way out far close to the blue line. The shot and screen were in such fantastic positioning the goalie didn’t even see it coming, and the Blades took an early 2-0 advantage.

 

With the Blades dominating the shot totals, to the tune of 29-17 throughout the first 40 minutes, it would come to the surprise of nobody that they were able to score once again in the second period. A nice rushing play led by Silas Crawford pushed the puck up the ice before putting in on the tape of Aidan Taylor’s stick who buried it from right in the slot. Now just over halfway through the game, the Blades had worked away to gain an impressive 3-0 lead.

 

The Blades just needed to play solid defensive hockey to wrap this game up, and they were able to do so. Just for the extra cherry on top, Matthew Indovina now sits tied for 7th in goals amongst rookies in the league, when he scored his 10th goal of the season by undressing the Chargers goalie early in the third. Through the rest of the game, the team sailed to a solid 4-0 victory. 2 points in Mississauga.

 

Dec. 10th @ Milton Menace

Blades Top Players:

McCarthy 40/43 SVS .930 SV%\

Shantz 1G

Johnston 1G

 

It always gets hairy when these two teams meet up. Last time these two faced off in October, two game misconducts were handed out along with loads of penalties. You can categorize this one as much less violent, but still a good back and forth match up.

 

The Blades were the first on the board for this one, unlike the slow start last time against Milton. Promptly after reaching the halfway point of the period, the cycle game came into play for Oakville. A whistle, a faceoff win and pass from Sean Clarke found Eric Bonsteel at the point, who launched the puck at the net and the new leadership group member, Jeriah Shantz, deflected it high for the goal. Despite a period of almost 20 shots against, Gavin McCarthy stayed strong and kept the team in the lead by blanking Milton.

 

The second period was not as kind to Oakville, as the same Milton player scored twice whilst Oakville failed to register another goal. Milton registered another 16 shots, bringing their 2 period total up to 33 and McCarthy had to be stellar in net to keep the team afloat. So as it would unfortunately be, the Menace would snag the lead back from the Blades and hold it at 2-1 until the end of the period.

 

The third period would see two additional goals, with the first coming from the Blades leading scorer Luke Johnston. After a smooth zone entry from the forward group, the puck found itself on Johnston’s stick and he fired it at the net, producing a high-flying rebound that would take a couple seconds to land. Once it landed, it landed almost perfectly on the stick of Johnston again and this time he made no mistake and rocketed it home to tie the game.

 

The newfound sense of hope and urgency was obvious as the team played in hopes of pulling into the lead. Unfortunately, it would not work out that way, and Milton would be the ones to score the final goal. Even with the rock solid play of the Blades netminder, who now sits 3rd league wide in goaltender save percentage, it wouldn’t be enough. Milton takes game 2 of the season series by a score of 3-2.

 

Coming up:

The team has one more road game to play before they can return back to their home barn. That game will be played this upcoming Saturday (16th) and will take place at the Mold-Masters SportsPlex in Georgetown. Important to note, the Blades play this game against the Raiders at 5:30PM. Three days later, on Tuesday, you can finally welcome your Blades back to the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex for a rare noon (12:00 PM) meeting versus the recently beaten Mississauga Chargers. Blades hope there are lots of students from local schools in attendance. The Blades will finish out 2023 with 2 more home games on Thursday, December 21st at 2:30 PM vs. the Collingwood Blues in a makeup game, and close out on Friday at the old regular time of 7:00 PM on December 22 vs. the Caledon Admirals. This final game of 2023 will be holiday themed and will be followed by a skate with the players! Bring your skates!

 

Remember to get your 2024 Centennial Cup Ticket Packages, now! Click here to purchase! Family pack is available right now at a special holiday price that includes 2 adult tickets and 2 child tickets to all of the weekday games after school and all of the weekend games including elimination games. There is also a special holiday discount available now on the full 25 game package! Tickets to each game can be transferred once and make a great gift!