Blades Battle Hard, But Can’t Catch a Break in 4-2 Loss

OJHL Play-off's 2015: Oakville Blades -1; Toronto Patriots - 3; Round 2, Game 4

OAKVILLE, ON - Mar 16, 2015 : Ontario Junior Hockey League game action between the Toronto Patriots and Oakville Blades. Game two of the best of seven semi-final series. Austin Broadhurst #4 of the Oakville Blades skates with the puck while being pursued by Nico Gonzalez #23 of the Toronto Patriots during the second period.
Blades Battle Hard, But Can’t Catch a Break in 4-2 Loss

The Oakville Blades proved they weren’t ready to fall all the way to the end, but a late attack by the Toronto Patriots handed the Blades a 4-2 loss, putting them down 3-1 in the series.

Scoring early on Mat Robson has proved to be an impossible task. In game one, the Blades were unable to find a hole throughout the entire contest. In game two, neither team were able to break the ice until much later in the contest. In the third battle, Oakville’s last goal came in the final minute  while on the power-play.

In game four, that all changed. Before the period was half over, Josh Kosack made an incredible play through the middle to create a great scoring chance. After deking Robson just inches in front of the net, Ryan Garvey picked up the puck in front of the crease and wrapped it past the Patriots goaltender, securing the one goal lead. Just like in the first playoff series against Orangeville, the team that has scored first has won every game, meaning the opening goal was going to be vital.

The Patriots weren’t so fond of the deficit, though. With eight minutes remaining. Jeremy Pullara jammed in the rebound on a scrum in front that Blades puck stopper Daniel Mannella, who was unable to reach it in time.

Through two periods of play, Mannella proved to be the easiest Blade on the ice. One of the biggest stories so far throughout round two, Mannella had 29 saves in the first two periods alone. The goalkeeper kept the Blades involved. It was one of the first times all post-season that the Blades had been outmatched on the shot clock. The Blades made sure to keep the game tied heading into the third and most important period of the game.

The Blades started the third period in the worst way possible: on a penalty kill. Daniel Jelic began the period in the box after earning a roughing penalty at the conclusion of the second. A minute into the period, Ryan Garvey joined him in the box after a penalty of his own. That meant that the Blades would have to play down two men against the high flying Patriots offense, but fortunately Mannella was in the zone to make some huge stops.

The Patriots appeared to score a goal just seconds after the power-play came to an end, but luckily for the Blades, the goal would not stand. In an attempt to get in the way of Mannella’s sightline, Quinn Syrydiuk skated through the crease and knocked the Blades goaltender down. Syrydiuk took a goalie interference penalty in the process. The Patriots were fortunate to score a few minutes later when Jacob Hayhurst’s spin deke in front of the net proved to be dangerous, giving the Patriots the 2-1 lead.

The Blades were put in a further hole while on their own power-play half-way through the third. Once again, it would be Hayhurst who would come up big for the Patriots, showing patience in front before roofing a wrist shot top corner while shorthanded.

Whenever the Blades are placed in a tense situation, Garvey seems to always know when to rise to the occasion. With the game nearing the dying minutes, Coach Mike Tarantino pulled Mannella with six minutes to go in an attempt to get a goal with the extra attacker. While up two men thanks to a penalty to Nico Gonzalez, Tyler Rollo took an absolute blast with the one-timer towards the net, where Garvey was right there to tip in the shot.

The Blades looked to have tied the game up with three minutes to go, but luck wasn’t on their side. Jackson Bales looked to have finally tied the game up after some solid work by Garvey in front of the net, but it was determined that #93 had actually hit Robson in the leg and the goal was waved off. The Patriots capitalized on the ensuing power-play, as Syrydiuk’s wrist shot was all it took to finish off the Blades in game four to take the 4-2 victory.

The Blades will look to stay alive in a do-or-die situation on Saturday. If they win, they stick around, if they lose, the Patriots will move on to the third round. Game is set for 8:00pm at Westwood Arena, hope to see you there!


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