Following three big divisional wins in their previous three contests, the Mississauga Steelheads (23-17-6-5) sit comfortably atop the Central Division standings, 10 points below the Eastern Conference leading Petes and Generals. Tonight, the Steelheads travelled to Barrie for another Central Division matchup against the Colts. In their previous meeting on January 27, the Steelheads edged the Colts 4-3. With the Colts on a bit of a losing skid, the Steelheads looked to pick up a valuable two-points as they continue to edge closer to Peterborough and Oshawa.
The Steelheads found themselves in the hole early as Ben Hawerchuck opened the scoring at 8:18 of the first period. Joey Keane and Lucas Chiodo picked up the assists on Hawerchuk’s 10th of the season. Just past the half way mark of the period, the Steelheads would see their first power play opportunity as Aidan Brown would sit for two on a checking-from-behind call on Marcus Dickerson. The Steelheads weren’t able to capitalize on the man-advantage as the game returned to even strength. At 15:40, Shaw Boomhower and Jiey Keane would exchange pleasantries in front of the Barrie goal, as they received offsetting roughing calls. During the 4-on-4, and Lucas Chiodo stripped a Mississauga defender of the puck and beat Mancina to put the Colts up 2-0. Shots on goal after the first period of play were even at 11 apiece.
Former Steelheads’ forward, Jason Smith increased Barrie’s lead early in the middle frame with his fifth of the season from Giordano Finoro and Tyler Tucker. Although the Steelheads found themselves down by three, they started to climb back, first with a goal from Jacob Cascagnette. Aidan McFarland and Matthew Titus assisted on Cascagnette’s 12th of the season. The Colts were quick to restore their three-goal lead as Giordano Finoro scored his 11th of the season from Zachary Magwood and Jason Smith. Just under a minute later, Owen Tippett brought Mississauga back within two with his 39th of the season from Jacob Moverare. A minute later, Michael McLeod pulled the Steelheads within one from Spencer Watson and Jacob Moverare. That goal was McLeod’s 15th of the season as the Steelheads trailed the Colts 4-3 heading into the third period.
Mississauga continued to strike in the third, adding three goals to take their first lead of the game. Jacob Moverare evened the score with a power play goal, his second of the season and third point of the night, from Vili Saarijarvi and goaltender, Jacob Ingham. Ryan McLeod then gave the Steelheads their first lead of the game after banking the puck off the backboards, which then ricocheted off Ovsjannikov’s back and into the net. Owen Tippett had the lone assist on Ryan’s seventh of the season as the Steelheads lead 5-4. Late in the frame, Spencer Watson made no mistake, finishing off a feed from Mikey McLeod in the slot to give the Steelheads a two-goal cushion. The Colts responded 20 seconds later with a goal from Hedberg to cut the Steelheads’ lead 6-5. With Ovsjannikov pulled in favour of an extra-attacker, the Colts looked to even the score and force overtime. Defenceman, Stefan LeBlanc gained control of the puck in front of the Steelheads’ goal and dumped it down the ice and into the empty net to seal a 7-5 win for the Trout.
The Steelheads return home to the Hershey Centre tomorrow to host the Hamilton Bulldogs for a 7PM start.