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Blades Bring Jr. Sabres to the Brink of Elimination

OAKVILLE, ONT - MARCH 8: The Oakville Blades celebrate the goal during the third period at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex on March 8, 2024 (Photo by Cameron Ernst / OJHL Images)

By Ty Brooks

 

March 12th vs. Buffalo Jr. Sabres

 

Blades Top Players:
Fire Extinguisher: McCarthy 37/37 SVS 1.000 SV%

Junkyard Dog: Modry 1A

Costante 1G, 1A

Tyrrell 1G, 1A

Kussmann 1G, 1A

McKenna 2A

 

 

After returning to the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex for game 3, the Blades are heading back to Buffalo with a 3-0 series lead! In a game that didn’t feature scoring for the first 35 minutes, the Blades managed to pick up momentum and run away with a 4-0 victory to push the Jr. Sabres to the edge of elimination. Tonight, the Blades travel out to Buffalo to see if they can get the job done and finish the series.

 

The violence really peaked in this one, culminating in Crisp getting cross-checked in the face midway through the second period. The cross check turned into some blood on the ice, a 5-minute major, and a game misconduct for a Jr. Sabre. Ultimately, Crisp would be back on the ice to finish the game, and Marco Costante would score the game-winning goal in the final part of the 5-minute penalty.

 

 

There are many positives to look at from this game, but there’s one that stands out above the rest. Gavin McCarthy records a shutout in a pivotal game at home during alumni night nonetheless! What’s even more impressive is that the shutout was a 37-save performance that included three penalty kills. There have been many players on fire this postseason, but it’s hard to argue that anyone has been better than Gavin McCarthy, who now sits at 3-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a.975 SV%! Simply incredible stuff from our 20-year-old co-captain, who has been far exceeding the already high expectations from these OJHL playoffs. This is McCarthy’s second, Jr. A postseason shutout in fact, with the first one coming from his time in the NOJHL in 2021-2022.

 

Scoring Summary:

2nd period

G: Costante (1) A: McKenna (3), Kussmann (1) (15:58)

3rd period

G: Tyrrell (3); A: Crisp (3); Costante (1) (5:30)
G: Johnston (3); A: Modry (1); McKenna (4) (11:34)
G: Kussmann (1); A: Tyrrell (6); Shantz (1) (EN) (18:52)

 

Since the game was so close for so long, there were many significant plays that happened, but perhaps none bigger than a huge pad save from McCarthy to end the second period. The game was still at 1-0, and a Buffalo player had slipped past the Oakville defence and slid a pass to his teammate in front of the Blades net. The player moved laterally with a defender on his back to try and get around McCarthy. Outstretched, McCarthy reached his pad out to stop the Buffalo player’s shot and keep the game at 1-0 as time began to run out in the second. This pivotal save was a huge difference-maker, as the Jr. Sabres could have tied the game and taken a heap of momentum going into the 3rd period. Instead, they were turned away and headed into the intermission down a goal; that’s the Play of the Night from Oakville.

 

The Blades head to Buffalo tonight, and this time they have a chance to end the series. What they have been doing has been working, so if they keep it up and stay focused, they’ll have a great chance of success. The best-of-seven series now sits at 3-0, so keep a close eye on the game, and let’s hope that the next time the team comes back to Oakville, it’s to play a home game in round 2!