The third time was the charm for an opposing team in the shootout as the Steelheads fell 6-5 against the Hamilton Bulldogs at FirstOntario Centre on Wednesday night. Keean Washkurak was awarded the 2nd star for his three-point (1G, 2A) performance.
Wednesday night’s first period started out in ideal fashion for the Trout. James Richmond reunited Aidan Prueter, Alan Lyszczarczyk and Cole Carter to start the game and the Trout came out firing. Lyszczarczyk would have an early chance stopped by Hamilton netminder Zachary Roy, but the Steelheads would continue to press. Some pretty passing from Cole Schwindt and Ryan Barbosa almost resulted in a Steelheads opener, Barbosa’s pass just barely out of reach. Not long after the Steelheads would earn their first power play, and on the man-advantage, the first goal of the game would be scored. Liam Ham’s slapshot rocketed past Roy, the marker was Ham’s eighth of the season. The assist on the play would go to a pair of Nicks to Isaacson and Canade. The Steelheads advantage was doubled later in the period when Cole Carter picked off a misplaced pass just inside the blue line and walked in alone on Roy. The captain made no mistake roofing his 32nd of the season over the netminders glove hand. The Bulldogs would push back in the later stages of the opening frame, and Tim Fleischer’s sixth goal on the campaign cut the Steelheads lead in half. A back-and-forth opening frame would end with the Steelheads up one goal but outshot 13-9.
The second frame would begin with the Trout on the penalty-kill, once Richard Whittaker was allowed to leave the box he found himself on a partial break but his shot just ran wide. The Bulldogs would find a tying goal through Logan Morrison as his shot from the right circle beat Jacob Ingham. The Steelheads would, however, battle their way back and restore their one-goal lead through James Hardie’s short-side seeing-eye shot. The Steelheads, however, would be unable to shepherd the lead into the break, Arthur Kaliyev’s 43rd goal of the season would tie the game up with only 37 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Trout would take over the game in the first segment of the third period. Keean Washkurak’s 11th on the power play would give the Steelheads the lead at the 15:31 mark. Washkurak battling to get to the right spot and planting himself in front of the Bulldogs net. Harley’s shot would find a lane to Washkurak and deflect into the back of the net. The Steelhead lead was then doubled by Lyszczarzyk’s 28th of the campaign. The winger finished off a tic-tac-toe play executed in conjunction with Cole Carter and Keean Washkurak. The Bulldogs would pull back within a goal with 6:18 remaining in the period. Avery Hayes finishing off a pass from Logan Morrison that gave Jacob Ingham no chance. The Bulldogs would then continue the comeback pulling level with 3:22 remaining in the final frame, Matthew Strome feeding Arthur Kaliyev for his second of the night and 44th of the season. 60 minutes of hockey would settle nothing for the third straight Steelheads game.
The Trout would begin the extra frame on the man-advantage, multiple cross seam passes and quick shots would go begging with Roy equal to each task. The biggest chance for the Steelheads to end the game in the extra frame would come when Thomas Harley used his speed to get in alone, and then get hooked to the point that the ref judged the infraction was worthy of a penalty shot. The defenceman would swerve into the slot and try his luck low glove on the Hamilton netminder but Roy was able to corral the shot. The extra frame would end scoreless and the Trout would head to another shootout.
In the first round of the shootout, Matthew Strome would end Ingham’s streak of six straight shooters stopped, his one-handed deke just barely trickling over the line. Zachary Roy would then hold the fort the rest of the way stopping Cole Carter, Thomas Harley and Alan Lyszczarczyk to secure the extra point for the Bulldogs.
Some notes from the game; Keean Washkurak’s 3-point game was his 11th multi-point performance. Nick Isaacson would record his second multi-point game with the Steelheads with his only other was also against the Bulldogs on January 26th. Jacob Ingham would finish the game stopping 28 of 33 shots. The single point leaves the Trout in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of the Bulldogs.
The Steelheads will return to action on Friday night in Kingston at 7:00 PM before a Sunday afternoon matchup in North Bay.