By Ty Brooks
If you missed this last week of action, you missed a lot of great Blades hockey! Your Oakville Blades are on a roll, and were able to collect lots of points! Blades are sporting a GF/GA of 12/4 over their last 3 contests against fellow members of the Western Conference. The Star of the Week was goaltender and co-captain #74 Gavin McCarthy who was lights out across these 3 games. The veteran netminder made 105 saves on 109 shots resulting in a .963 SV% this week.
Sept. 4th @ Buffalo Jr. Sabres
Blades Top Players:
McCarthy 34/35 SVS .971 SV%
Clarke 1G, 2A
The Blades went straight back to the LECOM Harborcenter after playing two Governors’ Showcase games in the city the week prior, this time to exact revenge on the Jr. Sabres following a home opener loss to the club.
After falling in double overtime to the Jr. Sabres in a tightly contested first home game, the Blades came back stronger in the US. The goaltending was airtight and the offence potted 2 power play goals in the first 10 minutes of the game to get an early lead. The 1st period power play goals from Oakville were scored by Sean Clarke and Gleb Akimov on a power play now listed as a red hot 56%. On both power plays, the Blades used effective east-west passing to shuffle the penalty killers before sending the puck in low for 2 in close goals. Clarke found himself in the right spot twice, the first time for a tap in goal and the second time to feed Akimov who showed off some quick hands in tight to quickly roof the puck over the shoulder of the Jr. Sabres goaltender. Oakville wrapped up the 1st period with a goal from Marco Costante off a powerful shot from the point.
From this point on only 2 goals were scored, including Buffalo early in the 2nd, their only goal of the game. Fast forward to late in the 3rd period, Oakville is up 3-1 and Buffalo has pulled their goaltender leaving a wide open net. Eric Bonsteel took advantage of this great opportunity and used the opening to grab his first goal of the season! The game ended up winning 4-1 and headed back to the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex with some sweet revenge.
Oct. 6th vs Burlington Cougars
Blades Top Players:
McCarthy 38/39 SVS .974 SV%
McKenna 1G, 1A
Lukey 1G, 2A
The Battle of Burloak resumed for the 2nd of 4 matchups in this season of OJHL hockey. Burlington had taken the first meeting between these two teams by a score of 3-1 in the season opener for both squads. This time with home ice advantage, the Blades avenged themselves for the 2nd time this week.
It was a special night in many ways for the club as they wore pink sweaters, sponsored by Team Logue in support of Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House in Oakville. This was part of the annual Pink in the Rink game.
Wellspring helps people living with cancer elevate their quality of life and strengthen mind and body through innovative cancer support programs.
All programs are offered at no charge to participants, and are proven to ease the debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatments, including pain, fatigue, mental health issues and financial concerns.
Special guests, Joanne Badida, cousin of Blades’ assistant captain, Eric Bonsteel and Ivanka Hiltschuki, Fundraising Events Specialist at Wellspring, participated in the ceremonial faceoff.
Joanne is a hockey mom of two boys. In 2018, Joanne was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. After intense treatment and surgeries, Joanne is here 5 years later happily celebrating that she is cancer free.
It was another night where the veteran players showed off their ability to take over OJHL hockey games. The game started off and was played fairly evenly as through the first two periods, the teams had each scored once, taken 3 penalties a side, and each registered more than 25 shots. Not long into the 3rd is when the Blades really started to take over this contest. Dawson Lukey and Kaleb Frank teamed up to put Oakville into the lead and this was just the push that Oakville needed to run away with this game. Following the Lukey goal at 4:44 of the 3rd; Clarke, Crawford and McKenna registered their own goals at 11:25, 12:07, and 19:47 respectively. This huge flurry of goals put the game far out of the reach of the Cougars and the Blades took the game by a score of 5-1.
After this great team performance including an incredible performance in net, the Blades had reached a 5 game win streak dating back to Sept. 22nd in Collingwood.
Some things are bigger than the game and the cause for this one was just that. The Blades look forward to sharing the final fundraising total, soon as well as the paragraphs written by some of the players, on what this game meant to them.
Oct. 7th vs Leamington Flyers
Blades Top Players:
Johnston 1G, 1A
McCarthy 33/35 SVS .943 SV%
For the first time ever, your Oakville Blades played a game against the Leamington Flyers, a team that was just this year promoted from the GOJHL (Jr. B). The Flyers are not the only team to have done so this season, as the Niagara Falls Canucks (also GOJHL) were promoted. The Flyers are however having more success in the acclimation process, with a 5-3 record coming into this game against Oakville, in comparison to the Canucks at 5-5.
The first period was difficult for Oakville, only registering 7 shots in comparison to the Flyers 15. However, the only team that managed to score was your Blades as Kaleb Frank showed great resilience in a solo effort that saw him push his way around to the front of the net after receiving the puck and launching one of his powerful wristers at the net. Oakville’s lead would last until 1:40 had passed in the 2nd period, when Leamington would notch a goal, followed by another 2 minutes later to pull into the lead. A lot of even strength back-and-forth action happened in this rather surprisingly disciplined game. After a great period of play, your co-captain Sean Clarke returned the score to even! With assists going to his linemates Gleb Akimov and Gleb Crisp on that top line that has been firing on all cylinders so far this season.
Now in the 3rd period, the Blades were looking to take back the lead. The team had a very successful period which saw them have the majority of possession and register a crazy 28 shots on net! The team was looking for a big play all period and they got it in the dying minutes of the game. Off of what seemed to be a routine dump and chase, the Flyers just looked gassed and wingers Churchill and Crawford were relentless with their pressure. Eventually, they caught the Leamington player not moving his feet along the boards and they initiated a puck battle along the wall. The puck squeaked out perfectly to no other than speedy Luke Johnston who displayed great skill kicking the puck from his feet to his stick whilst simultaneously moving past the Leamington defenders. A couple quick strides, a forehand-backhand-forehand and a shot blocker side put the puck past the goalie before he could get himself set.
Johnston is your home ice hero with the night’s game winning goal as he extends the win streak to 6 games.
Next up for the Blades:
You can catch your Blades in action again on Friday the 13th of October, and they’ll be sure to put on a show against the Caledon Admirals at Sixteen Mile, when they return. Beyond that, they will play a 5:30PM game in Georgetown against the Raiders at the Mold-Masters SportsPlex on Saturday. The team is looking to keep the positive momentum rolling, be there to support them!