By Jade Wiseman
It was an eventful week for the Oakville Blades, scoring 14 goals to help give the squad four points over three games.
Some of the club’s newest acquisitions had an immediate impact on the team, making them even more dangerous than before.
Vs. Toronto Patriots on Tuesday, January 16
Top Blades Players
The Toronto Patriots were looking for a good start after dropping the two previous meetings. Toronto got out to a 2-0 lead in the first 15 minutes of the game on a couple of unfortunate bounces for the Blades, but they’d look to bounce back later on.
Noah Tyrrell, a recent trade deadline acquisition, would cut the lead in half with under five minutes to go when he scored on a wraparound five-hole chance. It was his first goal with Oakville, with Luke Johnston and Max Donohoe nabbing assists.
The second period was fairly uneventful, but Oakville did outshoot Toronto 20-9. Despite that, nothing went in, but things were shaping up to make for an exciting third period.
Unfortunately, Toronto scored first on the power play, but Oakville would answer back. This time, Dawson Doner, acquired in late December from Caledon, would get the Blades within one with his first with the club, with Eric Bonsteel and Jacob Crisp assisting on the play.
Despite pulling the goaltender for the final 1:15 of the third and outshooting their opponents 55 to 29, the Blades couldn’t tie things up, with Toronto taking a 3-2 victory.
Vs. Georgetown Raiders, Friday, January 19
Top Blades Players
Belanger 2G 1A
Tyrrell 1G 2A
Friday’s game had an electric ambience, filling up with a capacity crowd. The Oakville Rangers were hosting its annual Winter Classic tournament, with the crowd filled with participants and families alike. Adding to the incredible atmosphere was country band 5-Hole, made up of Oakville Rangers parents.
It fit the setting, given the game happened to also be Country Night. Many fans were wearing their best country attire, with the PA music matching the vibe. It also helped the opponent, the Georgetown Raiders, always tend to have fantastic matchups with Oakville.
Going into this one, the Blades were looking to even up the season series at two apiece. Oakville outshot Georgetown in the first period, but the Raiders came out of the period with a 2-0 lead.
The second period saw the two teams trading goals. It started when Kenny Belanger scored his first as a Blade off of a Conor Thacker rebound at the point, backhanding it five-hole. Luke Johnston would also pick up an assist on the marker.
Jeriah Shantz would capitalize on the power play for the Blades’ second goal of the period on a centering pass from Noah Tyrrell, who took the pass from Cole McKenna at the point.
The third Blades goal of the second period was scored by Tyrrell on a short-side rush, with assists going to Belanger and Luc Modry.
The third period would be intense, with the Blades scoring a little more than halfway through the period to tie it up. Belanger picked up the rebound from a Johnston shot and snapped it past the sprawling goaltender. Tyrrell also picked up another assist to cap off a tremendous showing.
A few minutes later, rookie defenceman Cormick Smallegange took the pass at the faceoff dot to the left of the goaltender from Max Donohoe, making no mistake for his first OJHL goal. This proved to be the game-winner.
The Blades were definitely feeling good after the comeback win. It was a demonstration of some resiliency that hadn’t been seen a lot previously this season. The loud fan support and atmosphere helped add to the victory.
Vs. the Aurora Tigers, Saturday, January 20
Blades Top Players
Tyrrell 2G 1A
Belanger 1G 1A
Taylor 1G 1A
Christensen .947 SV %
This match was another full house as the Winter Classic tournament continued, with 5-Hole once again making an appearance. Fortunately for the hometown crowd, the Blades proved to be dominant in a big 7-2 victory.
Noah Tyrrell would open the scoring midway through the first on a nice passing play on the rush. He tapped it over the goaltender after taking a perfect pass from Aidan Taylor, with Kenny Belanger snagging an assist. Around five minutes later, another new Blade would get his first in a Blades uniform, with Kyle Kussmann finding the back of the net on a top-corner wrister. Jeriah Shantz and Matthew Indovina would draw assists as the Blades took a 2-0 lead into the first break.
The second period was even in goals through the middle frame. Aurora would get on the board around the four-minute mark, but Oakville’s Gleb Akimov would answer back with a snap from the high slot thanks to some good puck work from Sean Clarke and Cormick Smallegange. Aurora would answer again less than five minutes later, but Kenny Belanger would go on to pick up his own rebound to make it a 4-2 game.
The third period was all Oakville. Noah Tyrrell would get his 21st of the season, while Eric Bonsteel and Taylor would score 10 minutes apart to cap off the one-sided performance.
It was an incredible weekend for Oakville, with the new additions stepping up in a big way. Massive kudos are in order to the Oakville Rangers for help filling the crowd, and to 5-Hole for helping keep them entertained.
Don’t forget that all Oakville Rangers and Oakville Hornets players have free admission to all league games, so keep coming out to support our Oakville Blades!
This week the Blades are headed to Buffalo on Wednesday for a 7:45 PM date with the Jr. Sabres.
The team will head back to Niagara Falls on Friday for its first road game against the Canucks, with puck drop set for 7:00 PM.
On Saturday, the Blades will return home for a third showdown of the season with the Collingwood Blues, with Oakville looking to add a third loss to Collingwood’s total. It will be an intense battle, so make sure you are there to support the team! Go Blades, go!