Alan Lyszczarczyk game-winning hat-trick goal carried the Mississauga Steelheads to a 4-3 OT win over the North Bay Battalion of Sunday afternoon. James Hardie’s tying goal in the third period and Jacob Ingham’s 32 saves paved the way for the Lyszczarczyk winner that helped the Trout run out of North Bay with two points.
Sunday’s first period was an up and down affair for the Steelheads, an early shift from a line made up of Cole Schwindt, Adam Varga and Nick McHugh set an attacking tempo. The early pressure paid off when a Ryan Barbosa shot rebounded off Alan Lyszczarczyk and into the net for the winger’s 30th goal of the season. The Steelheads penalty kill would then have to go to work for the first time shortly after. The Trout nearly doubled their lead following the successful penalty kill, as Cole Carter rifled a hard pass in the direction of Keean Washkurak who was streaking towards the back post, the attempt was just too hot to handle and skipped past the centreman. The Battalion would earn their way back into the game, Brandon Coe’s 14th of the year coming just four minutes after the Lyszczarczyk opener. A lacklustre end to the first was made worse by Luke Moncada’s goal with only 58 seconds left on the clock. A nice pass by Patrick Brown on the 2-on-1 teed up Moncada for his 5th of the campaign.
In the second stanza, the Trout would pull even on the power play through Lyszczarczyk second of the game. The winger battled his way to a puck in front of the Battalion goal on the powerplay and potted it past North Bay netminder Christian Propp. The power play marker was assisted by Thomas Harley and Richard Whittaker. The tie-game, however, was short-lived, Matthew Struthers’ 25th of the season for the Battalion just 33 seconds later cancelled out the Lyszczarczyk equalizer. A beautiful spinning backhand pass by Simon Rose put the puck on a platter for Struthers who beat Jacob Ingham. The Steelheads netminder would bounce back to make a game-altering save late, kicking out his right pad to deny Brad Chenier and the Battalion a two-goal lead. A closely contested second ended with the Trout down a goal, but the shots nearly even to that point, the Battalion holding a slim 26-25 advantage.
In the third frame, the Steelheads chased an equalizer, and it looked like it would come off the stick of Aidan Prueter. A quick-thinking play by Nick McHugh who gloved down a floating puck and sent it towards Prueter, left the London, ON native alone on the back post. His quick shot was only thwarted by a desperate, acrobatic save from Propp who kicked his left pad back to deny the Trout the game-tying goal. The Steelheads would find what they were looking for thanks to James Hardie. An outstanding effort by the rookie to split two Battalion defenders and chipped the puck into the roof of the net meant the game would head into overtime.
In the extra frame, Jacob Ingham made an important save on Brandon Coe’s effort as the forward swept across the netminder’s crease to keep the game going. The winning goal came just moments later, Thomas Harley got the puck to Alan Lyszczarczyk who got in between two North Bay defenders and in alone on goal. The forward’s game-winning hat-trick goal came on a nifty forehand-backhand shelf move.
Some notes from the game; The win was the 56th of Jacob Ingham’s career and set a new Steelheads record for career wins, surpassing Spencer Martin’s mark of 55. Thomas Harley’s three assist afternoon gives him 53 in his Steelheads career, that puts him just one assist back of Sean Day for third in assists by Steelheads defenceman. Alan Lyszczarczyk hat-trick was his second of the campaign and marked his sixth multi-goal game of the year, a new career high. Jame Hardie’s goal today marked the first time the rookie had scored goals in three consecutive games.
The Steelheads will return home tomorrow to take on the Western Conference-leading London Knights in a Family Day matinee game.