Blades Miss Playoffs In Bitter Overtime Defeat

Blades Miss Playoffs In Bitter Overtime Defeat
Kerr Street Cafe
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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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For the fourth straight game, the Blades knew that a loss would spell the end of the season. But this game had a bit different meaning to it. For the first time in Oakville’s history, the OJHL declared a Sudden Victory Game’ for the eighth and final playoff position in the South-West Conference standings. The Oakville Blades and Toronto Jr. Canadiens finished tied for eighth place in the South-West Conference standings, so a one game, winner take all contest was to take place at Sixteen Mile, with the winner going on to face the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots in the first round of the playoffs. The game wouldn’t work in Oakville’s favour, as the team managed to fall just short in a 6-5 overtime loss to Toronto.

Oakville’s must win game didn’t start off too favourably. With AP Ryan Takamatsu in the box for a pre-game violation, Toronto’s Connor Prudames took advantage of the extra ice by roofing the puck over Mark Manolescu to make it 1-0.

It was a strong start for Toronto Jr. Canadiens puck-stopper Daniel Lopapa, who allowed four goals in just five minutes of action in the previous game against St. Michael’s last Monday. Of 15 first period shots, many of which came from tough angles by Oakville sharpshooters, Lopapa stood sharp, stopping every bit of rubber that came his away. His Blades opponent, Manolescu, looked solid despite allowing one goal on 13 shots. On Friday, the former Toronto Lakeshore goaltender made over 30 stops in Oakville’s 7-2 victory over St. Mike’s, a huge bounce back from his previous start a week earlier, and 8-1 loss to the North York Rangers.

The second period began much better for the Blades. After Kris Bennett deked past three defending Toronto players, Vince Palermo scored his second of the year after poking the loose puck between the legs of Lopapa for the tying goal. The marker didn’t come without a price, however, as Palermo’s stick snapped in the shuffle in front of the net, but those were the least of his worries.

Joe Seney, who just returned from a hand injury that took him out for over a month, would earn another injury during the second period. After getting into a bit of a scuffle with Toronto forward Dante Cannatella, Seney would require a bit of extra stitching in the change-room thanks to a punch to the face. Cannatella sat out the remainder of the game as a result.

The Blades were given a three minute power-play with with the major to Cannatella still on the board, but it didn’t seem like it. After a couple of failed scoring opportunities in the Toronto zone, Kennedy Duguid would roof the puck over Manolescu to restore the Canadiens lead. Dalton Bew wouldn’t have any of that, scoring one right over the blocker of Lopapa at the other end of the ice with 33 seconds remaining in the power-play.

The scoring wasn’t over. Unfortunately for the team in blue, Aaron Spivak ripped the puck over Manolescu to once again give Toronto the lead, this time making it 3-2 before the second period came to a close. With five seconds remaining in the period, Bew would go on to notch his second of the contest on a shorthanded breakaway marker, tying the game up at three apiece heading into the most important period of the season.

The scoring brigade wasn’t over. Only a minute and a half in, Seney, who played his first shift since getting banged up late in the second, sent the disk over to Chris Polotek, posting his second goal in two games. Three minutes later, a Spivak wrist shot deflected off Manolescu and rolled into the net, much like Belarus’ goal on Tommy Salo back in the 2002 Olympic quarter-finals. Less then a minute after that, Anthony Repaci tucked a wrister from the the doorstep below the blocker of Oakville’s goaltender, giving Toronto their fourth lead of the match.

Oakville wasn’t finished. In what can only be considered one of the most exciting matches of the season, Kris Bennett came up huge, scoring on a wild rush in front of the net to tie it up at five apiece with only six minutes remaining.

The game would require overtime. With the Blades having taken over 50 shots for the first time all season, it appeared as though Oakville may have had a solid chance to advance to the next stage of the OJHL season. Toronto’s Aaron Throw had different plans, placing a wicked wrister over the glove of Manolescu to end Oakville’s season before the midway mark of overtime.

The Oakville Blades would like to thank all their fans for their tremendous support during the 2013-2014 season, and can’t wait to see you again next year!

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