Vella shuts the Firebirds out in 4-0 win

The Mississauga Steelheads and the Flint Firebirds were both desperate for a win Monday afternoon. The Steelheads are in competition with the Peterborough Petes for eighth place in the Eastern Conference and the Firebirds want to be anywhere but the bottom. The Firebirds ran into their second straight shutout thanks to Emanuel Vella of the Steelheads. The final score was 4-0.

Both teams were desperate for a win and that was apparent throughout the first period. Mississauga took an early lead in shots and Flint fought back but took two penalties before five minutes were up – Hakon Nilsen for slashing and Jake Durham for boarding. Michael McLeod was forced to retire to the bench after Durham’s aggressive contact but returned later in the frame. The first of two fights was between Marcus Getz of the Firebirds and Mississauga’s Keean Washkurak, both of whom received five minutes for fighting. Before their time was served, Jacob Collins instigated another spat with Mason Hardy and was forced to leave the ice for misconduct. Hardy got two minutes for kneeing and five minutes for fighting. Neither team could score before the end of 20 minutes, but the Firebirds worked their way up on the shot clock and ended the period tied at nine.

The Steelheads started the second period shorthanded following a late hooking penalty against Thomas Harley. Later at full strength, Mathieu Foget attempted a wraparound but was denied. The rebound, though, went right to Owen Tippet who fired it into the back of the net. His 26th of the season gave the Steelheads a 1-0 lead. Under a minute later, Michael McLeod was caught cross checking and Tippett attempted a shorthanded goal but couldn’t get past Luke Cavallin. The Steelheads regained and increased their lead on the shot clock, ending the period 25-19.

The third period opened with a delay of game penalty against Kyle Harris. On the power play, Mathieu Foget scored his 18th of the season. From then on, the Steelheads made it obvious they weren’t going to let the Firebirds on the board. Emanuel Vella made save after save, drawing huge applause from the crowd. It was Adam Varga, though, that brought people to their feet when he scored his very first OHL goal halfway through the frame. Four minutes later, Michael Little scored and made it 4-0. Flint had a late power play opportunity when Cole Carter went to the box for interference, but couldn’t make anything of the man advantage. The game ended in a shutout for Emanuel Vella, giving Mississauga the two points they were looking for.

The Steelheads will be in Barrie to face the Colts Thursday for a 7:30 PM match.

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