SmartStop Post-Game Recap – Battled until the Buzzer

The Steelheads come close to the comeback but drop one to the league leading Ottawa 67’s

First Period

The Mississauga Steelheads celebrated their inaugural Cultural Celebration game as they took on the league-leading Ottawa 67’s in the classic Sunday matinee. It is just the second meeting between the two teams, as the 67’s narrowly edged out the Steelheads 4-3 in overtime earlier this season. 

The game started off with a slow pace of play, with the Steelheads locking up the neutral zone and playing defensively-sound hockey. Co-Captain Charlie Callaghan got the Trout going with a big hit in the offensive zone. Steelheads goalie Alessio Beglieri looked strong in between the pipes, making some key saves to keep the game scoreless.

With 4:03 left to play in the first period, the Steelheads went to the power play as Frankie Marrelli headed to the box for slashing. The special teams units looked more in sync, with Zander Veccia getting a great chance as he kicked the puck into the air, but failed to connect on the mid-air attempt. 

The game remained scoreless after the first frame. 

Shots on Goal – 9 OTT/6 MISS

Second Period

The Steelheads started the middle frame with their foot on the gas. Early in the period, Angus MacDonell broke free in front of the Ottawa goal and took a shot to the blocker side, but it was saved by 67’s netminder Max Donoso.

Luke Misa, who came into the game on a four-game point streak (5G, 5A) produced a number of opportunities early in the period for the Trout. The best of the chances saw Misa utilise his speed, gaining the zone and sliding the puck across to James Hardie, who had his shot saved. 

Just past the halfway mark of the period, the 67’s took control of the game and scored three goals in quick succession, with Venzenz Roher, Luca Pinelli, and Anthony Costantini all scoring for Ottawa. This flurry of offence from the 67’s saw the Steelheads down 3-0 with just over 4 minutes remaining in the period. 

In response to the offensive outburst by Ottawa, Steelheads Head Coach James Richmond did some line juggling. The Head Coach iced a line consisting of Schwindt, Misa, and Veccia. This paid dividends, as the line was able to produce great offensive zone pressure. Late in the shift, newly acquired defenceman Stevie Leskovar picked up a pass from Veccia and rifled an unbelievable shot bar-down for his first career OHL goal. 

While the period came to an end with the Steelheads down 3-1, the late goal provided some much needed momentum and energy heading into the third period. 

Shots on Goal – 13 OTT/12 MISS

Third Period

The final frame started off with increased physicality and the Steelheads setting the tone early. On the same shift, Angus MacDonell and Brice Cooke threw big hits, which the Steelheads faithful enjoyed. 

Early in the period, it seemed that the 67’s were comfortable with playing defensively and nursing the lead. Eventually though, the Steelheads were able to produce multiple chances off the rush as Lucas Karmiris and Misa were able to enter the zone with possession. The Steelheads also had a power play opportunity that saw James Hardie with multiple scoring opportunities. 

With 6:54 to go Porter Martone had a glorious chance to get the Trout within one, however Donoso was able to slide across and get his blocker on it to make the save. Shortly after, the Steelheads headed to the power play. 

On the ensuing power play, the 67’s committed another minor infraction, which gave the Steelheads a five-on-three power play. James Richmond elected to use his timeout, he also pulled the goaltender to make it a 3 man advantage. 

The Steelheads were all over the 67’s zone, narrowly missing on various occasions. The 67’s got the puck out of the zone momentarily, but Misa entered the zone with speed and established the Trout in the offensive zone once again. The puck found its way to captain Hardie who crashed the net and found the back of the net to put the Steelheads within one. Martone and Misa picked up the assists on Hardie’s 29th career power play goal, giving the captain the franchise record for power play goals.

As the goal was scored six-on-three, the Steelheads still had 40 seconds of power play time left. The Steelheads won the next draw, which quickly allowed Alessio Beglieri to get to the bench for the extra attacker. Mississauga had all the momentum, producing multiple quality scoring chances late in the game. Hardie came within inches of tying the game, however, his slot shot rang off the post and was recovered by the Ottawa defenders. 

The 67’s penalized player jumped on the ice at the perfect time, and received the puck at the blue line. He was able to dump it into the Steelheads zone and the 67’s deposited it into the empty net to make it 4-2. 

Shots on Goal – 8 OTT/13 MISS

Total Shots – 30 OTT/31 MISS

Three Stars:

  1. Max Donoso (29 SV)
  2. Stevie Leskovar (1G)
  3. James Hardie (1G)

The Steelheads winning streak comes to an end after a loss to Ottawa. The Trout take to the road next week for a lengthy four game road trip. The Steelheads will return home to the Paramount Fine Foods Centre on Friday February 10, 2023. 

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