Mannella Shines as Oakville Blades Concludes Pre-Season With 5-1 Win

Regular season begins on Friday, September 5th against the Burlington Cougars


The Oakville Blades concluded their final game of the pre-season on Saturday, taking on the Orangeville Flyers for the second time in a week.

Last Tuesday, the Flyers, playing at their home arena an hour away, took home the 3-1 victory despite a solid Oakville effort. The game on Saturday was a completely different story, as a stellar performance between the pipes by Daniel Mannella helped the Blades defeat the Flyers by a score of 5-1.

The Blades got off to a splendid start. Despite allowing the first three shots of the game, Oakville took eight shots in a row to show their offensive strength. Former OHL forward Brandon Hughes, who scored a nice goal back on Thursday against Hamilton, was falling on his back yet still managed to flick it over the shoulder of Orangeville goaltender Nicholas Latinovich and in. Despite the momentum, a tipped shot by James McLaughlin found its way under the glove of Daniel Mannella and in the net.

Fortunately for the home crowd, the momentum wasn’t totally lost by Oakville. With 3 minutes to go in the first period, Ryan Burns scored yet again to give Oakville the 2-1 lead. It was Burns’ 10th point of the pre-season in just four games, an impressive accomplishment considering he hasn’t been with the team for too long.

An issue of Oakville’s last year was their lack of shots. In many games, seeing the team get outshot by 30 every night wasn’t an oddity. This year has already started off differently. At the halfway mark in the game, the Blades were on pace for 50 shots in the contest thanks to a 25-13 shot advantage during the second period.

Despite the shot totals, there wasn’t many memorable moments at either end. However, with under two minutes remaining in the game, both teams had incredible opportunities of their own in an attempt to alter the score. First, Matt McLeod sent the puck to Sean Kohler who spun around and flicked the puck just a bit too high. At the other end of the ice, Darren Nesbitt deked past the Oakville defense pairing and appeared to have beaten Mannella for the goal. However, the newcomer between the pipes wouldn’t give up, keeping the puck out of the net thanks to a nice bicycle kick goalie save to keep Oakville’s lead.

The third period started out quite fantastic. Only 14 seconds into the period, which happened to also be an Oakville power-play, Greg Campbell’s blast from the blue line was tipped just in front of the crease by Kamil Tkaczuk to give Oakville the two goal lead. The same combination would strike again at the 9:25 mark as beautiful passing by Tkaczuk and Campbell led to a second goal by Hughes, extending Oakville’s lead to three goals. A minute and a half later, Hughes scored his second of the night after perfect positioning in front of the Orangeville net. Any chance of an Orangeville comeback was thwarted in the third period, as the boys in red, white and blue took home their third win of the pre-season following a fantastic 5-1 effort on Saturday.


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