WEEKEND PREVIEW l Steelheads take on Eastern Conference Leaders
MISSISSAUGA, ON- The Mississauga Steelheads return to action this weekend having split a pair of games last week against the North Bay Battalion and Barrie Colts. The team was originally scheduled to have started an important three game stretch on Thursday night against the Erie Otters but mother nature and the snow coming off Lake Erie had other ideas, forcing a rescheduling of that game to Tuesday, March 12th. A Steelheads team itching to return to action treated the fans to an entertaining comeback with three second period goals as the impetus in a 6-3 victory over the North Bay Battalion on Friday night. The Steelheads then travelled north to Barrie on Saturday night, for a game that left the team frustrated by a 50-save performance from Colts goaltender Jet Greaves. The two-point weekend left the team in sole possession of fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings, with the 6th, 7th and 8th place teams all tied just two points behind them.
What awaits the Trout this weekend are showdowns with the two teams atop the Eastern Conference standings before a Sunday game against the Windsor Spitfires (21-27-3-1). Thursday night will see the team face off against the second-place Niagara IceDogs (32-11-7-0) at the Meridian Centre. This game will be immediately followed by a clash with the Eastern Conference leading Ottawa 67’s (38-9-3-1) at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre on Friday night.
Thursday, February 7th @ Niagara IceDogs (Meridian Centre)
Puck Drop @ 7:00PM
The second-place IceDogs are stacked with draftees, six on the front end are supported by three players on the back end who have been selected by NHL teams. One of the drafted forwards is Jason Robertson. Acquired through trade from the Kingston Frontenacs earlier this season Robertson has been on a tear offensively for the IceDogs, the Dallas Stars second-round selection has compiled 45 points in 20 games since joining Niagara. His 83 points between Niagara and Kingston are good for third in league scoring. The leader for IceDogs on the back-end is Matt Brassard (VAN 7th in ‘17), who like Robertson was acquired via trade this season from the Oshawa Generals. In 47 games between the two clubs this season, Brassard has tallied 10 goals and 30 assists. Between the pipes for the IceDogs is Stephen Dhillon, the Buffalo, NY native has won 26 games this season while posting a .906 save percentage. In the standings, the IceDogs currently sit nine points back of the Ottawa 67’s for first in the Eastern Conference. So far this season the Steelheads and 67’s have split the season series with both sides winning two games, a high scoring affair could be on the cards Thursday, these teams have combined for 33 goals in their four previous meetings.
Friday, February 8th vs Ottawa 67’s (Paramount Fine Foods Centre)
Puck Drop @ 7:00PM
The OHL’s top team and top scorer come to Mississauga on Friday night. Tye Felhaber’s 53 goals have propelled the Ottawa 67’s to first in the OHL and number four in the most recent KIA CHL Top 10 Rankings. The 67’s acquired Lucas Chiodo and Kyle Maksimovich from the Barrie Colts and Erie Otters leading up to the OHL’s trade deadline. The moves have both paid dividends for the 67’s so far with each player producing north of a point per game for the team. The 67’s defence is manned by two Arizona Coyotes prospects in Noel Hoefenmayer (2017 4th) and Kevin Bahl (2018 2nd). The two offer differing styles; Hoefenmayer contributing 50 points in 51 games and the 6’6” Bahl producing 24 points and racking up 66 PIMS on the year. Ottawa’s other headline-making move brought in netminder and Vancouver 2017 third-rounder Michael Dipietro. The 2017 Memorial Cup Champion has brought stability to the 67’s net posting a 2.82 GAA in nine games with the team. The 19-year old was called up to the Canucks on an emergency basis this week due to an injury to Thatcher Demko meaning that the 67’s may be without him for Friday night’s matchup. In that case be prepared to see Cedrick Andree, a 28 game winner for the 67’s this season.
Sunday, February 9th vs Windsor Spitfires (Paramount Fine Foods Centre)
Puck Drop @ 2:00PM
The final game of the weekend sees the Windsor Spitfires visiting Mississauga for a day-time tilt with the Trout. The Spitfires currently sit in the final playoff spot in the Western Conference four points clear of the ninth-place Erie Otters. The Spitfires offence is led by Daniel D’Amico, Cole Purboo and rookies Jean-Luc Foudy and Will Cuylle. The team boasts four 20-goal scorers with Purboo, Cuylle, D’Amico and Curtis Douglas all passing that mark on the season. The blue line is patrolled by Vegas Golden Knights fifth-rounder Connor Corcoran who has registered seven goals and 17 assists on the season. The two teams last meeting this season was the Steelheads highest scoring performance of the season, nine goals thanks in large part to Alan Lyszczarczyk’s four-point effort and two-goal games from both Ryan Wells and Thomas Harley. The team’s final meeting of the season gives the Steelheads an opportunity to complete the season sweep.
Opposing to Players to Watch:
Phillip Tomasino: Number 24 on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings was occupied by Tomasino, good for the sixth best OHL prospect. The centre has recorded 53 points in 49 games this season for the IceDogs. Last year in his rookie campaign the Mississauga, ON native recorded 24 points in 61 games. While suiting up for Team Canada Black as a teammate of Aidan Prueter and Thomas Harley at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, Tomasino registered one assist in five games at the competition.
Austen Keating: Ottawa’s second-leading scorer and Tye Felhaber’s main setup man Keating has bounced back from a 2017-18 season that saw him take a step back to 52 points from 63 in 2016-2017. So far this season the Guelph, ON native has recorded 72 points (17G, 55A) in 51 games putting him 11th in league scoring. Keating represented Team Canada White at the 2016 Under-17 World Hockey challenge tallying four points in six games on a team that included names like Owen Tippett, Evan Bouchard and Nick Suzuki.
Daniel D’Amico: The Windsor Spitfires leading scorer this season is 2019 draft-eligible forward Daniel D’Amico. The former Toronto Marlboro has followed up a solid rookie season with 43 points (21G, 22A) in 52 games for the Spits this year. His play thus far this year was rewarded with the 164th spot on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings. The ‘01 born forward has recorded 10 multi-point games for this year, his best outing coming against the Sarnia Sting on December 6th recording a goal and two assists.