By Steven Ellis
Saturday, March 25, 2017 8:00 am ·  0 Comments
The Oakville Blades are on their way to the third round of the OJHL playoffs after beating the Burlington Cougars 4-1 in both game five and in the series on Friday night.
The Blades knew the best tactic to stop Burlington from getting an advantage at any point in the game was to build a lead in the first period. And as both teams have noticed throughout the series, two-goal advantages have been the key to success in this series.
That’s exactly what Oakville did in the first 20 minutes. With about seven minutes left to go in the period, Bryce Misley’s wrist shot proved to be too much for Cougars netminder Mario Cavaliere, beating him blocker side to make it 1-0 for Oakville on the power play.
Then, with under a minute to go in the period, the Blades secured the 2-0 lead, a lead that would stand for most of the game. This time, defenceman Nicholas Turenko brought the puck up on the rush before dishing it back to captain Jackson Bales. Bales, a star forward in the OJHL, took a perfect shot in the slot to make it 2-0 for Oakville.
Playing shorthanded seemed to work best for the Blades. Just 4:22 into the third, Chris Brill-Morgan, sent Ryan Foss down the ice after stealing the puck in the neutral zone. Foss, Oakville’s top scorer in the playoffs with nine points in nine games heading into Friday, doesn’t miss a lot of breakaway chances, backhanding it over Cavaliere to make it 3-0 for Oakville.
Oakville’s defence had to be especially strong in the third period, with the Blades taking eight penalties in the final 20 minutes alone. Oakville did a tremendous job of keeping the puck away from the net, while Brendan McGlynn stopped 33 of Burlington’s 34 shots throughout the game.
Burlington scored a goal with an extra attacker at 15:27 in the third, but Oakville would regain their three-goal advantage shortly after. Drew Worrad would score from centre ice less than 20 seconds later, beating Cavaliere from afar to make it 4-1, a goal that would finish off the Cougars’ season and advance Oakville to the third round.
With the win, Oakville will focus their efforts on facing the Georgetown Raiders next week, a team that the Blades managed to beat three times in 2016-2017. Stay tuned for a full round three schedule!
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