Blades Trending in the Right Direction

OAKVILLE, ON - SEPTEMBER 15: Sean Clarke #11 and Eric Bonsteel #4 of the Oakville Blades celebrate the team’s first win of the season as they exit the ice after the game at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex on September 15, 2023 in Ontario, Canada (Photo by Michelle Malvaso / OJHL Images)

The Blades have officially wrapped up their first two weeks of play in the 2023-2024 OJHL season and are headed off to Buffalo where they will compete in the Governors’ Showcase.


For now, let’s review the first 5 games of the season so you can see how your Oakville Blades have been doing:


Sept. 8th @ Burlington Cougars 

Blades Top Players:

Costante 1G

Akimov 1A

McCarthy 40/43 SVS .930 SV%


The 2023-2024 Oakville Blades team, brimming with new (veteran) faces played their season opener in Burlington against the Cougars. The Burloak rivalry is always a fantastic game to watch and this contest was another back-and-forth game between the two teams. Both goalies faced over 40 shots each and played strong games in front of almost 500 people at the Burlington Central Recreation Arena. Ultimately, the Cougars took home the victory in a tight game to kick off the season. The Blades only goal came from a snap shot off the stick of Marco Costante in the 1st period after an incredible turnover caused by a huge hit by Conor Thacker at the Blades’ blueline.


Sept. 9th vs Buffalo Jr. Sabres

Blades Top Players:

Frank 1G

McKenna 1G

McCarthy 31/34 SVS .911 SV%


The Blades played their home opener against the newly returning Buffalo Jr. Sabres who are back in the OJHL after taking two seasons off due to the pandemic. Both sides were coming off of losses and were looking to ink their names into the win column early on in the season. A crowd of over 300 people gathered at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex to watch the Blades take some of their first steps towards the Centennial Cup, and it was certainly a thriller of a game. Kaleb Frank managed to score his first goal as a Blade on an absolute snipe on a 2-on-1 chance, and Cole McKenna brought out his one-timer for the other Blades goal of the evening. The game went to 2OT, where the Jr. Sabres would eventually grab the win in a tight contest.


Sept. 15th vs Brantford 99ers

Blades Top Players:

Crisp 3G, 1A

Dawson Lukey 1G, 2A

Cole McKenna 1G, 2A

Sean Clarke 3A


The Blades were back in Oakville for the 3rd home game of the season, looking for their 1st win. With a final score of 8-1, the team as well as the home crowd were able to walk away happy as the team rolled over the Brantford 99ers for their first game of the season. Jacob Crisp, who absolutely loves terrorising the 99ers, is up to 8 goals and an assist in his last two outings against the 99ers going back to last season. Lukey, McKenna and impressive new veteran player Sean Clarke also put up big numbers at Sixteen Mile that night. But perhaps most importantly, Matthew Indovina scored his first OJHL goal!


Sept. 16th vs Markham Royals

Blades Top Players:

Johnston 2G, 1A

Bonsteel 3A

Akimov 1G


The Blades matched up against the Royals in a game that they would like to forget, as they came out with a 6-3 loss. They did some good work, notably firing up their power play with 2 power play goals where Johnston and Bonsteel shone. In the end, the Royals were just too much for the Blades to handle as they closed out the game strong with 4 goals in the 3rd period. Good individual performances but the team is well aware that they can and will perform better to have a chance at the Centennial Cup.


Sept. 22nd @ Collingwood Blues

Blades Top Players:

McCarthy 46/48 SVS .958 SV%

Donohoe 2G

Bonsteel 2A


The best game of the season was easily the last game the team played against the Collingwood Blues. Oakville came into this game as HUGE underdogs with Collingwood starting off the season 6-0 compared to Oakville’s 1-3. The Blues were averaging 6 goals a game with only 1.5 goals coming against them across those same contests, Oakville was even in this same metric. The Blades had yet to win a game on the road and the Blues were 3-0 at the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena. All the signs were pointing to an easy game for the reigning OJHL champions Collingwood Blues.


However, showing much improvement from last year, this team did not back down from the challenge. With a heap of new veteran players guiding the way, they fought until the very last second. Newly acquired veterans Donohoe and Bonsteel played huge parts in the Blades success in this game, but the reason the team won is thanks to the Blades 2022-2023 season MVP Gavin McCarthy.


A stellar 46 save performance from the co-captain McCarthy landed the Blades their biggest win of the season so far as they took down the powerhouse Collingwood Blues by a score of 3-2 in front of a crowd of 800 spectators. In the offensive end, the hard work of Max Donohoe was able to secure the team the opening goal early in the first period and the game winner with just a couple minutes remaining in the third. It is safe to say that the veteran leadership brought in during the offseason by GM/Head Coach Scott McCrory and his staff are starting to show the early returns of what having experienced players does for a hockey team.


To top it all off, the new co-captain, Sean Clarke, who played for Collingwood last year and is now a member of the Blades, was presented with his Buckland Cup championship ring upon his return to the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena. Hopefully this time next year, Clarke and the Blades team will receive some hardware for their accomplishments in the OJHL and CJHL.


Coming up

In following days, your Oakville Blades will play back-to-back weekday games in Buffalo at the OJHL Governors’ Showcase. The goal of this showcase is to have all the teams come to one location so that scouts from all over North America can get their eyes on the OJHL athletes and help players move up to higher levels of hockey. All games will be streamed on FloHockey and will be played at the LECOM Harborcenter, the practice building for the Buffalo Sabres NHL squad, the home rink of the NCAA Division 1 Canisius College Griffins and the OJHL’s Buffalo Jr. Sabres. Oakville will play two games facing off against the Haliburton Huskies (Sept. 27th @ 11:30 AM) and the Georgetown Raiders (Sept. 28th @ 8:30 PM).


By Ty Brooks