By Steven Ellis
Friday, September 4, 2015 8:00 pm ·  0 Comments
The Oakville Blades began the 2015-2016 OJHL season in the best possible way, coming back from a third period deficit to defeat the Burlington Cougars 5-4 on Friday afternoon.
The last time the two teams took to the ice at Appleby Ice Centre in Burlington for a regular season game, Oakville had an easy run to victory. After a 5-1 start in the first period, the Blades would score an additional ten goals to finish off with the 15-1 win. This time, however, wasn’t going to be as easy, but it was sure to be a thriller for the full duration of the game.
It took just 1:09 for Oakville to find the back of the net for the first time this season. After Burlington goaltender Andrew Lee made a costly mistake playing the puck behind the net, Christian Rajic skated into the crease and tapped home the easy goal, scoring on an empty cage for the 1-0 goal early.
At the 11:30 mark, the Cougars tied the game up at one apiece. With rookie defenseman Patrick Kudla sitting in the box for Oakville, Willie Paul took a wicked slap shot from just inside the point, beating Brendan McGlynn blocker side for the 1-1 goal early in the battle.
With just over a minute to go in the first, the Cougars took advantage of their first lead of the game. This time, Danny Volpe would score on a one-timer after connecting on a David Thompson feed from just in front of the net, giving the home team the 2-1 lead to end the first.
With the clock nearing the five minute mark in the second, Josh Rettinger found a way to tie the game up at one. The affiliated player, making just his first start in the OJHL, skated in after some passing between Josh Kosack and Eric Holland, sniping the puck over the right arm of Lee and in for the 2-2 goal.
The goaltending battle was quite impressive through two periods. With both teams getting rather creative with dekes around the crease, both Oakville’s McGlynn and Burlington’s Lee had to have their heads in the game. McGlynn had an exceptionally strong performance, making a huge toe save on former Blade Jack Jeffers near the halfway point of the middle frame to keep his team tied when it mattered. With 1:06 left in the game, he one upped himself by getting his skate on Jordan Peacock’s chance, an opportunity that saw him the Cougars player dangle past three Blades.
Unfortunately for McGlynn, his hard work would have to take a break with a minute to go. Almost right off of the face-off, Volpe got his second goal of the game when he picked up the disk in front of the crease, scooping it in the net for the 3-2 goal.
Penalty troubles would start to hurt the Blades. With Daniel Jelic and Josh Kosack both in the box for various reasons early in the third, Volpe would find the back of the net for the third time on Friday. It was a very similar goal to what he was able to do for his first goal, taking a wide open pass on the doorstep to knock in the 4-2 goal.
Were the Blades ready to let things slip away? Not right away. With 3:41 left in regulation, Josh Kosack rushed the net and found the loose puck, jamming it in for the 4-3 goal. It was a good end to the game for #27, who looked to be injured a minute into the period after going feet first behind Oakville’s net.
With 58 seconds left, Oakville pulled off a miracle. A year after blowing a third period lead to Burlington to start the season, Oakville tied it up in the final minute to send the game to overtime. This time, it was Ryan Garvey, the same guy who won game seven against Orangeville a year ago to send Oakville to the second round of the playoffs, who would find an open slot in the net to tie things up at four.
Overtime was as thrilling as it gets, with the thought of starting off the season with an extra point looming in the balance. Unlike in 2014, Oakville wasn’t looking to start the season on a sour note, instead finishing the game with the victory with two and a half minutes left in the extra frame. Eric Holland would get credit, using good worth ethic to power through and force the puck past Lee to score Oakville’s fifth goal, giving the Blades the 5-4 victory to start the season on the upside.
Oakville’s second game of the season is set for Saturday, a 7:30pm meeting with the Georgetown Raiders at Alder Arena. Hope to see you there!
2015/16 Season, Brendan McGlynn, Burlington Cougars, Christian Rajic, Daniel Jelic, Danny Volpe, Eric Holland, Jack Jeffers, Josh Kosack, Josh Rettinger, Oakville Blades, OJHL, Patrick Kudla, September 4 2015