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Blades Get Swiped by the Panthers but Sink the Patriots

OAKVILLE, ON - OCTOBER 28: Dylan Edwards #61 of the Toronto Patriots attempts to keep the puck from Luke Johnston #71 of the Oakville Blades in the third period at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex on October 28, 2023 in Ontario, Canada (Photo by Michelle Malvaso / OJHL Images)

By Ty Brooks

Last Saturday and Sunday:

For the first time in a long time, the Blades were not at home at any point this weekend. Instead, your Blades hit the road. Travelling east for both matchups in Toronto and Pickering, the Blades faced off against the Patriots and Panthers for back-to-back 7:30 PM starts in away arenas. Although the result would be different in both arenas, the Blades were able to skate back home to Oakville with a couple points in their pocket.

 

Nov. 25th @ Toronto Patriots

Blades Top Players:

Churchill 1G

Akimov 1G

McKenna 1G

 

After a tough result in their Wednesday matchup, the Blades came to play this Saturday. They showed up to the Westwood Arena looking for a fight, as shown by a combined 86 minutes of penalties. Maybe a little too feisty guys? Either way, it worked out for the team.

 

The Blades owned the only power play goal of the night, their 2nd of 3 in the evening. With all 3 goals coming from far out, maybe the team did some shooting accuracy in practice, or maybe they really just took “get pucks on the net” to heart that night. I don’t have the answer to that, but what I can tell you is the goals got increasingly more impressive as they went on. First up, Cole McKenna lays the puck on net from the blue line, and wouldn’t you know it, it goes in! 8:41 into the first and Oakville is up 1-0. McKenna now finds himself within the top 10 goals among defencemen in the OJHL, while having played less games than the rest of the skaters ahead of him. McKenna, 5 goals, also owns 50% of the goals from Blades defencemen this year.

 

It would be in the final period of regulation when the Blades would score the other 2 goals they collected on the night. The top 3 scorers combined on the power play unit early in the 3rd as a smooth pass across from Captain Clarke (Johnston helped too) was blasted home by Akimov for his 10th of the season. Just minutes later the game winning goal came off the tape of Jack Churchill at 5:14. What seemed like a simple zone entry turned into a long range snipe as a long wrist shot from the point flew into the top left corner of the twine. The Patriots would try to come back, but it wasn’t enough. The Blades won 3-2. Strong start to the weekend for Oakville.

 

Nov. 26th @ Pickering Panthers

Blades Top Players:

Bonsteel 1G

Clarke 1A

Donohoe 1A

 

Oakville went further east the following night, making their way to the Chestnut Hills Developments Recreation Complex… trying saying that 5 times fast. While the Blades have a strong 5-2 record on the road, this game just didn’t go their way. A whopping 52 shots on net resulting in just a single goal. Albeit, it was a very nice goal when Eric Bonsteel walked in on the powerplay and rifled it home, the team wasn’t scoring based on a lack of opportunities. Credit Max Donohoe and Sean Clarke for those assists too.

 

Even outshooting the opposition by 20 shots, the goaltender Christensen was still solid in the 32 shots against, making 29 saves. It’s not the result anyone was looking for, but you can’t win them all. The information we have from the game shows that it wasn’t due to lack of effort or aggressiveness on the part of the visiting team. Best we can do now is look ahead, next week, here we come.

 

This week in Blades hockey:

You can catch your favourite Jr. A hockey team next on Thursday, November 30th when they play their 3rd away game in a row, against the Caledon Admirals. If you plan on coming to that matchup, bundle up… the Mayfield Recreation Complex isn’t known for its heating system. Typical away game 7:30 PM start time in Caledon.

 

If you survive the Blades vs. Admirals game, you can also come see the team when they return home to the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex for the resumption of the ever present Battle of Burloak. The Cougars stop in on  Saturday, December 2nd for the usual 7:00 PM home start. Don’t miss it as it’s the Blades Annual Teddy Bear Toss in support of the Oakville Firefighters’ Professional Association Toy Drive. Bring a new stuffed toy to throw on the ice when the Blades score their first goal. The Oakville Firefighters will also be selling stuffed toys at the game, and collecting donations of new unwrapped toys, gift certificates and monetary donations through a ‘tap’. Let’s cover the ice with stuffed toys and bring joy to the children of Oakville this holiday season! We’ll see you soon Blades fans!