Blades Can’t Hold On To Late Lead, Lose Heartbreaker To Burlington

A late four goal lead proved to be unsafe for Oakville as the Cougars rallied back to secure a 7-6 win over the Blades.

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Blades Can’t Hold On To Late Lead, Lose Heartbreaker To Burlington
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About the Author

Steven Ellis

Steven Ellis

Steven Ellis is an Oakvillian, who fell in love with Hockey journalism. He covered the Oakville Blades from 2013 to 2017. He will graduate from Ryerson School of Journalism in 2018. He has so far contributed to RogersTV, Metroland's Oakville Beaver, Euro Hockey, Daily Hive, The Scout House and Champions Hockey League. His next move is to the North York Rangers.

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The Oakville Blades and Burlington Cougars took to the ice to open up the 2014-2015 OJHL season at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex. Last season, the Blades fared well against their neighbours from the east, defeating them in all three contests they played in. However, a late four goal lead proved to be unsafe for Oakville as the Cougars rallied back to secure a 7-6 win over the Blades.

The Burlington Cougars’ jumped out in front only 69 seconds into the game. A lucky bounce in front, 1998 born and Guelph Storm draft pick Kyle West happened to be in the right place at the right time, as the puck bounced off his chest and behind Brendan McGlynn.  It was just the first shot for the visiting Cougars, who would record only one more shot for the remainder of the first half of the game. Oakville, on the other hand, had scoring chances aplenty, firing 9 shots in ten minutes at the other end.

The Blades got into a bit of penalty trouble in the second half of the period. Luckily for Oakville, McGlynn was on the top of his game. One save in particular really stood out as the sophomore puck stopper did a beautiful two pad stack to deny West of his second goal of the game.

Burlington got some absolutely incredible goaltending to start the second period. Cougars goaltender Eugene Makarski was forced to make some outstanding stops to keep the game tied, including a diving glove save on Brandon Hughes. Luckily for Oakville, their persistence would pay off before too long. With five minutes off the clock in the second, Matt Lippa’s shot bounced off the pad of Makarski and straight onto the stick of Ryan Burns, who made no mistake with the goal. Burns has proved to be fantastic since joining the team this summer, recording ten points in just four pre-season games alone!

Oakville’s dominance on the score clock continued in the second. Ryan Markovic, playing in just his first OJHL game since signing with the team this summer, got his first of his career after pouncing on a loose puck in front of the net. Burlington player Sean McLaren wasn’t happy about the goal, and would find himself sitting out the rest of the game after attacking the Blades during their goal celebration. On the ensuing power-play, Oakville extended their lead to 3-1 as Matt Lippa got his first with the Blades when he snapped the puck over the blocker of Makarski and in.

A couple of new players showed some incredible chemistry with five minutes remaining in the period. Some great passing by Brian Hurley and Ryan Burns allowed Christian Rajic to pot an easy tap in on the glove side to make it 4-1 for Oakville. The Blades would make it 5-1 with 43 seconds remaining in the middle frame when Joe Mitchell’s beautiful deke would see the puck bouncing off the skate of Burlington defenseman Willy Paul and in the Cougars net.

The Cougars finally gained some traction in the third. First, Ben Morris made it 5-2 when a deke past the Oakville defenseman found its way into the back of the net. Three minutes later, Wyatt Trainer put his team within two when his laser beam of a wrist shot went top shelf on McGlynn and in the net to make it 5-3. Less than 30 seconds after that, West got his second of his young OJHL career to put his team within one goal in a quickly changing contest. Oakville’s nightmare wasn’t over yet; however,  before the final ten minutes had even commenced, West sent the puck right over to Nathan Fiorino, who tied the game up at five.

Luckily for Oakville, the collapse wasn’t totally fatal just yet. With about eight minutes to go, Brandon Hughes made Makarski look silly with a snipe that even Tuukka Rask would have had issues stopping. It looked all good for Oakville, who had a lead heading into the final minutes of the third. However, the one goal advantage wouldn’t stand. With 1:08 remaining in the game, Steve Mariani tied the game up with a thrilling wrist shot that silenced down the Oakville crowd. Any hope the Blades had at regaining the lead was vanquished with 12 seconds left, as the Cougars got the game-winner from Spencer Herbst following a quick shot from the right face-off dot. The seventh Burlington goal was a heart breaker for Oakville, who looked destined to win the game for the majority of the contest.

Oakville travels to Westwood Arena in Toronto on Saturday to take on the defending champions, the Toronto Patriots. We hope to see some Oakville support!

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