Steelheads Advance to Eastern Conference Final
The Steelheads continued to be hot on the road, edging the Generals 4-3 on Thursday to take a 3-1 lead in the series. They hoped to carry that momentum into game five, and close out the Eastern Conference semifinal. After being pulled in back-to-back games, Jeremy Brodeur would not get the start in today’s game, as the Gens went with Kyle Keyser between the pipes. Following three consecutive wins, Steelheads’ Matthew Mancina would make the start in game five.
The Steelheads tested Kyle Keyser early and often in the opening frame, setting the pace right from the opening puck drop. The Generals were awarded an early powerplay opportunity, as Vili Saarijarvi would sit for two on a holding call. Owen Tippett has a good shorthanded chance for the Steelheads’ but was stopped by Keyser. The home team was unable to capitalize as play returned to even-strength. The Steelheads saw their first powerplay opportunity at 7:29 as Alex Di Carlo went off on a roughing call. The Steelheads had four shots on the man-advantage but were also unable to capitalize, as the game remained tied approaching the half way mark of the frame. The best chance for the Steelheads came during four-on-four action following back-to-back penalties to Stefan LeBlanc and Jack Studnicka. Vili Saarijarvi put the puck on net and Spencer Watson was on the doorstep but was unable to get anything by Keyser. In the ensuing scramble in front of the net, the puck popped out to Vili Saarijarvi who fired a shot at an open net, but it didn’t make it through the crowd. The Steelheads outshot the Generals 16-9 as the game remained scoreless at the end of the first.
Mississauga opened the scoring in the second, as Stefan LeBlanc buried a rebound for his first career playoff goal. Spencer Watson and Nic Hague assisted on the opening goal. Later in the frame, Trent Fox finally found the back of the net after hitting the post on two other chances. Owen Tippett and Nathan Bastian assisted on Fox’s fourth of the postseason. The Steelheads would head to the dressing room up 2-0.
Past the halfway mark of the final frame, Nathan Bastian bought the Steelheads some insurance, putting them up 3-0. Trent Fox assisted on Bastians sixth of the postseason. Late in the frame, Joe Manchurek spoiled Matthew Mancina’s shutout and brought the Gens within two. Despite a last effort with an extra attacker, that would be the lone goal for the Gens as the Steelheads won by a final score of 3-1, moving on to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.
Steelheads win series 4-1.