xThe OHL Eastern Conference Finals got underway tonight, with the Steelheads visiting the Peterborough Petes for game one. The East Division Champion, Petes have been on a roll so far this postseason, sweeping the Niagara IceDogs and Kingston Frontenacs for a perfect 8-0 record. The Central Division Champion, Steelheads defeated the Ottawa 67’s with a 4-2 series win, and the Oshawa Generals with a 4-1 series win to advance to the Conference Finals for the first time in the club’s five-year history. Despite a few losses at home, the Steelheads have been perfect on the road (6-0) these playoffs and looked to carry that into tonight’s match-up.
As expected, things got off to a quick start, with each team trading a number of key opportunities. Mancina set the tone, showing he was cool and collected with a big split save early on. Just past the halfway mark of the opening frame, Owen Tippett would give the Steelheads a 1-0 lead, sniping a shot past Wells from the high slot. The Steelheads outshot the Petes 11-7 in the first and held a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The home team came out hard in the second as Steven Lorentz beat Mancina with a wrist shot top shelf to even the score 1-1. With 7:55 to go in the frame the Petes would capitalize on a power play opportunity to take their first lead of the game. The goal came from Nikita Korostelev, his third of the postseason from Lorentz and Seymon Der-Arguchinstev. Two minutes later, the Steelheads responded, evening the score 2-2 with a goal from Spencer Watson. Watson wired a beautiful shot from the faceoff circle, beating Wells top shelf. Late in the frame, Ryan McLeod restored the Steelheads’ lead, tipping in a shot from Vili Saarijarvi. The Steelheads would once again head to the dressing room up by one.
Approaching the midway point of the final frame, Wells stopped Tippett on a breakaway to keep the score at 3-2 Steelheads. Just past the ten-minute mark of the frame, Der-Arguchinstev would even the score 3-3, burying a rebound for his third of the postseason. A minute later, Spencer Watson would put the Steelheads back up with his second of the night, giving Steelheads fans some Alexander Nylander nostalgia, with an eerily similar goal to Nylander’s against Barrie in last year’s playoffs. With six minutes to go, Michael McLeod stripped Adam Timleck of the puck in the Petes’ zone, and netted his seventh of the postseason to put the Steelheads up 5-3.
The Steelheads hung on, handing the Petes their first postseason loss to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Game two is set for Saturday, April 22 in Peterborough, puck drops at 7:05PM.
Steelheads lead series 1-0