Coming off a four-game series sweep to clinch their first Eastern Conference title, the Mississauga Steelheads returned to action Thursday night to kick off the OHL Championship Series. With both rosters boasting a number top talents and impressive postseason records, the stage is set for an exciting finals.
In the opening frame, the home team did their job of limiting the Steelheads’ chances. The Steelheads were only able to get four shots on Otters’ goaltender, Tory Timpano, while Matthew Mancina stood tall between the pipes to keep the Otters off the board. The teams would head to the dressing rooms scoreless after the first period of play.
At 5:38 of the middle frame, overager Warren Foegele solved Mancina to bring the home crowd to their feet and get the Otters on the board. Antony Cirelli picked up the lone assist on Foegele’s ninth of the postseason. At 14:45, Otters’ captain, Dylan Strome put the Otters up 2-0 from Darren Raddysh and Haydn Hopkins. The Steelheads would head into the third period trailing by two.
The Steelheads first powerplay opportunity came early in the third, as Erik Cernak would sit for two on a holding call. Unfortunately they couldn’t get anything going and were unable to capitalize on the man-advantage. Mississauga had three more powerplay opportunities in the final frame, but the Otters’ special teams were up for the challenge as they continued to limit the Steelheads’ chances. At 17:25, the Steelheads were finally able to get on the board as Stefan LeBlanc put home his second of the playoffs from Trent Fox and Ryan McLeod. Within one with time winding down, the Steelheads stepped on the gas desperate to even the score, but were unable to generate anything as the Otters held on for a 2-1 win to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Game two is set for Sunday, May 7 at 4PM in Erie.
Otters lead series 1-0