Watson scores hat trick in 7-3 win over Knights

The Mississauga Steelheads continued their road trip with a visit to the Budweiser Gardens Friday night to take on the London Knights. Tonight marked the first meeting for these two teams this season. Over the past four years, London has had a perfect record at home against Mississauga, so the Steelheads would be looking to carry their momentum from a 5-1 win over Kitchener into tonight’s contest and stay in the win column.

Mississauga looked strong out of the gate, peppering Knights’ goalie, Tyler Parsons early and often. The early pressure paid off as Vili Saarijarvi fired a rocket of a shot from the point to give the Steelheads a 1-0 lead. Owen Tippett and Michael McLeod picked up the assists on Saarijarvi’s fifth of the season. Just over a minute later, the Steelheads would capitalize again as Spencer Watson picked up his first Steelheads goal and 250th OHL point. Nicolas Hague had the lone assist on the goal as the Steelheads jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. The Steelheads controlled the pace for the majority of the frame, outshooting the Knights by a large margin. The Knights picked things up late in the frame, testing Mancina who was up to the challenge. The Steelheads’ netminder made a number of key saves to keep London off the board. Later in the frame, the Knights pressured Mancina with eight shots in a six-minute span. At 16:59, they were finally able to solve Mancina as Janne Kuokkanen scored his 15th of the season to cut the Steelheads’ lead 2-1. Shots on goal at the end of the first were 14-10 in favour of Mississauga.

The Steelheads kept the engine running with another early goal to start the period. Owen Tippett caught Parsons out of position with a wrist shot from the face off circle to restore Mississauga’s two-goal lead just 23 seconds into the middle frame. Tippett’s 22nd of the season was assisted by Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian. Around the midway point of the frame, Spencer Watson scored his second of the night from Nicolas Hague to give the Steelheads a 4-1 lead. After that goal, Tyler Johnson would enter the game to relieve Parsons. Shots on goal after 40 minutes of play were 26-20 in favour of Mississauga.

Mississauga would start the third on a power play as Alex Formenton had taken a slashing penalty late in the second. Despite a number of chances, the Steelheads were unable to capitalize on the man-advantage. Minutes later, the Knights were awarded a power play opportunity of their own, and would capitalize to cut Mississauga’s lead 4-2. Cliff Pu found the back of the net following a frenzy in front of Mancina. Olli Juolevi and Brandon Crawley assisted on Pu’s 19th of the season. Past the halfway mark of the frame, Scoley Dow would pick up a drop pass from Aidan McFarland and fire a wrist shot over Johnson’s shoulder to restore the Steelheads’ three-goal lead. The Knights responded 1:30 later, as a rebound landed right on the stick of Sam Miletic who scored his 20th of the season to bring London back within two. 20 seconds later, Spencer Watson would net his third of the night, completing the hat trick to put the Steelheads back up by three. Hague picked up the lone assist, his third of the game, on Watson’s goal. The Steelheads weren’t done there as Owen Tippett scored his second of the night 40 seconds later to seal a 7-3 victory for the Trout, their third win in as many games.

The Steelheads will continue their road trip tomorrow, making a stop in St. Catharines for a central division matchup with the Niagara IceDogs. Puck drops at 7PM.

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