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Special Teams Play Big Role in Loss to Wolves

The Steelheads were back in action on Friday night, and looking to snap a four game losing skid as they visited the Sudbury Wolves. After Jacob Ingham started in goal last night, it was Emanuel Vella who got the call between the pipes.

The game started slowly, with neither team earning a solid scoring chance for a few minutes, but it was the Wolves who broke the ice first. On the power play, Wolves captain Michael Pezetta let a shot go from the point that redirected in front of the net and snuck past Vella. Zack Malik and Dmitry Sokolov picked up the assists on the goal. Just three minutes later, an unassisted and even strength strike by Sokolov put the Wolves up 2-0.

Despite outshooting their opponent, the Steelheads found themselves down by two at the end of the first period. The Steelheads took three penalties in the first period, which gave the Wolves the opportunity to build a lead and limited the Steelheads’ chances of  gaining offensive momentum.

Early in the second it was the Wolves’ turn to head to the box and the league’s 4th best power play made quick work. Off the ensuing faceoff, Albert Michnac played the puck back to Nic Hague who put the puck on net. The rebound bounced out into the slot, and Owen Tippett calmly fired the puck into an open net to get the Steelheads on the board.

The game sat at 2-1 until another Wolves power play. Emmett Serentsis beat Vella on a high shot that rang off the crossbar. It was immediately waved off by the official, and play continued long enough for the penalty to Hague to expire. At the next break in the action, the referees conferred and determined that the Serentsis shot crossed the goal line and was a good goal.

The Wolves third power play goal came in the final minute of the second period as Sokolov pocketed his second of the game when he snuck a rebound between Vella and his post. At this point the Wolves were three-for-four on the power play and making the most of their opportunities to put the Steelheads away. Now down 4-1, the Trout would need a big third period to get back into the game.

Mississauga came out of the gate with a sense of urgency and began to put the pressure on Sudbury. This time it was the short handed special teams unit that made the difference. Steelheads captain Mikey McLeod put on a penalty killing clinic before finding the back of the net to cut the lead to two. Just as the momentum was swinging back towards the Trout, the Wolves’ Darian Pilon put an end to it, as he converted on a long rebound to restore the three goal lead.

Ultimately, the advantage the Wolves had built on special teams in the first two periods was insurmountable in the third. The teams traded late goals (Macaulay Carson for Sudbury; Jacob Moverare for Mississauga) and the game finished 6-3.

Sudbury finished 3/5 on the man advantage, while the Steelheads converted just one of their three opportunities.

The Steelheads continue their road trip in Hamilton on Sunday before returning to the Hershey Centre later in December:

December 8th vs. Barrie – Toys for Tots presented by Peel Regional Police

December 10th vs. Hamilton

December 17th vs. Sudbury – Teddy Bear Toss in support of Canadian Tire Jumpstart

 

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