WEEKEND PREVIEW l Steelheads set for another 3-in-3 on the road
MISSISSAUGA, ON – A busy week for the Steelheads concludes with a road trip for the team to the destinations of North Bay (19-8-1-2), Sudbury (21-14-2-1) and Sault Ste. Marie (25-10-4-1). The Steelheads are coming off a 1-2-0-0 open to the month of January which the saw the team pull out a 6-5 shootout victory over the Peterborough Petes on Thursday night. Following the Steelheads second shootout against the Petes in a week, they came up short in a pair of high scoring 7-4 losses to the Oshawa Generals on Friday and in a Sunday rematch with the Petes on home ice.
Following this weekend of play, the Steelheads made multiple moves in the run up to the OHL’s trade deadline that will see some new faces join the line-up. CJ Clarke joined the team on January 1st from the Flint Firebirds, the team then followed that up by adding Duncan Penman and Aidan Prueter from the Saginaw Spirit. On Tuesday night, the Steelheads acquired Nick McHugh from the Kitchener Rangers, the 19-year old forward from Gloucester, ON has compiled 25 points in 27 games so far this season in addition to a strong 200ft game and is one to watch as he makes his debut with the Steelheads. The team’s final move was a buzzer beater signing Nick Isaacson from the Peterborough Petes just minutes before the 12 PM OHL trade deadline. Isaacson, the Mississauga native was a 5th round pick for the Petes in 2016 and has skated in 137 OHL games tallying 15 goals and 28 assists in that span. The ’99-born forward has set a new career high in goals (7), assists (14) and points (21) through 39 games.
Coming up this weekend are three 7:00pm puck drops on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Northern swing is an opportunity for the Steelheads’ new faces to make an immediate impact and help the team move up the OHL’s Eastern Conference standings.
Thursday January 10 @ North Bay Battalion (North Bay Memorial Gardens)
Puck Drop @ 7:00PM
The Steelheads travel to North Bay on Thursday night to take on the 6th place Battalion. The Steelheads and Battalion have met twice to date with each side coming out on top once. The Battalion are coming off a 2-0-0-1 open to January and will be hoping to start their slate of games off with a win before traveling to Peterborough and Kingston. The Battalion are led on the front end by Justin Brazeau’s 68 points in 40 games, good for 2nd in the OHL scoring race. The Steelheads forwards will likely be challenged by Battalion goaltender Christian Propp who will be riding high after making 46 saves in the team’s 5-2 win over the Guelph Storm. An important game for both sides as a regulation win will see that team claim 6th place in the OHL’s Eastern Conference.
Friday January 11 @ Sudbury Wolves (Sudbury Community Arena)
Puck Drop @ 7:05PM
Night two of three will see the Steelheads face off against the Sudbury Wolves. The Wolves currently sit 4th in the Eastern Conference 6 points ahead of the Steelheads. Sudbury travels to Barrie on Thursday Night before returning home on Friday night to face the Steelheads. The Wolves are led by David Levin and rookie Quinton Byfield who have registered 16 and 15 goals respectively this season. The Wolves are backstopped by Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who is returning from World Junior glory with Finland’s Under 20s and will look to maintain his .923 save percentage. The season series is tied with each team claiming victory twice so far. The Wolves will be looking to stop a slide that has seen them go winless in their last seven games against Barrie on Thursday night.
Saturday January 12 @ Sault Ste. Marie (GFL Memorial Gardens)
Puck Drop @ 7:07PM
The final game of the weekend has the Steelheads taking on the 2nd place Greyhounds currently sit four points behind the London Knights in the Western Conference standings. The Greyhounds are led by Morgan Frost and Barrett Hayton who have each returned from their time with Canada at the World Juniors. The pair are each registering point per game marks north of 1.65 in OHL play as of Thursday, January 10th. The Greyhounds will be looking to continue playing at a pace that has seen them go 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games, while the Steelheads will be looking to avenge their 3-2 OT loss on December 14th. Cole Schwindt and Alan Lyszczarczyk were the goal scorers for the Steelheads in the team’s only meeting so far this season.
Opposing Players to Watch:
North Bay Battalion
Zach Malik: The Battalion made their own moves this deadline with the addition of Zach Malik from the Sudbury Wolves. The Czech defenceman has represented his country at multiple youth levels; most recently the U-18 World Championships. So far this season, the defenceman had recorded 3 points in 11 games for Sudbury.
Adam Ruzicka: The Wolves lone trade deadline move saw them add Adam Ruzicka from the Sarnia Sting. Ruzicka comes to the Wolves fresh off a World Junior Championships that saw him register 3 points in 5 games for Slovakia. Sudbury adds a forward that started the season with 37 points in 35 games for the Sarnia Sting.
Sault Ste. Marie:
Mac Hollowell: The Niagara Falls native and 4th round selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs has recorded 13 goals and 30 assists in 35 games so far this season and is a big contributor to the Greyhounds high scoring offence.