With just four points between them, the Mississauga Steelheads and the Oshawa Generals met Wednesday night at the Tribute Communities Centre for an Eastern Conference faceoff. It was both Emanuel Vella and Jacob Ingham versus Kyle Keyser, all of whom faced shot after shot. After a wild third period comeback from the Steelheads, it was Keyser and the Generals who finished with a big win. Oshawa put six points between them and the Fish with a 5-4 victory.
The first period saw little action until late into the 20 minutes. Mississauga fell behind in shots on goal but had the first power play opportunity of the match. Domenico Commisso slid into Mississauga’s net and took out starting goalie Emanuel Vella, heading to the box for interference with just under half the period remaining. The Fish were unable to capitalize on the man-advantage and continued to trail behind in shots on goal. Isaac Walker was penalized for holding and the Steelheads were able to defend against the Generals until a minute and 50 seconds in, when Serron Noel got one past Vella. When the buzzer sounded and the period came to a close, Matt Brassard and Nic Hague both picked up minor unsportsmanlike conduct penalties following a heated altercation. The second period would begin with eight skaters on the ice.
The four on four was uneventful. The Generals waited until they were at even strength to increase their lead. Renars Krastenbergs scored on a give and go less than five minutes into the frame and Danil Antropov followed suit about three minutes later. Oshawa was caught with too many men on the ice and the Steelheads were given the opportunity to catch up with an extra body. Emanuel Vella suffered a costly giveaway behind the net and Kyle MacLean upped the score to 4-0. Vella left the ice and Jacob Ingham took over, saving every shot he faced. The Steelheads were given a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct – served by Cole Schwindt – but killed the penalty. At full strength, Nic Hague found the back of the net and became the first defender to reach 30 goals in a season in almost two decades. The period ended with Danil Antropov in the penalty box for hooking.
Cole Carter opened the third period with a power play goal and the Steelheads hustled. They overtook the Generals on the shot clock, allowing them only seven shots on goal throughout the frame. William Ennis was sent to the box for tripping over halfway through the 20 minutes and Owen Tippett scored the Steelheads’ second power play goal, making it 4-3. Isaac Walker’s second penalty of the game – interference – spurred on a wild turn of events. Allan McShane seemed to get one past Jacob Ingham and the crowd believed it was in, but the referees immediately waved it off. The Generals were blindsided and therefore unable to keep up with Mikey McLeod and Trent Fox, who broke for Oshawa’s net with the puck. The two worked around Oshawa’s defence and Fox tied the game with a shorthanded goal, assisted by McLeod. After a short review, the officials confirmed that McShane’s shot hit the post and Mississauga’s goal was good. As time went on, it seemed the game would go to overtime but Renars Krastenbergs scored late on a breakaway and gave the Generals the lead once again. Tensions were high and the Fish were determined, but they were unable to execute another comeback. The final score was 5-4 with the Fish leading 44-32 on the shot clock.
The Steelheads will head back to Mississauga Friday to face another Eastern Conference and Central Division team, the North Bay Battalion. Puck drops at 7 PM.