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Oakville Defeats Orangeville in Thriller, Advance to Second Round

Oakville Blades in a congratulatory group hug
Oakville Defeats Orangeville in Thriller, Advance to Second Round

The Oakville Blades have advanced to the second round of the OJHL playoffs after a 4-3 victory in a thrilling game seven against the Orangeville Flyers.

Scoring the first goal of the contest has proven to be key all series long, but neither team wanted to be the first to allow one. Some solid goaltending along the way from Oakville’s Daniel Mannella and Orangeville’s Wyatt Pickrell prevented either team from really getting an edge early on in the battle.

Despite that, Oakville was able to strike first. With under five minutes to go, the speedy Matt McLeod sent a great saucer pass in front of the net to 2015 NHL Draft prospect Jackson Bales, who was able to one-time the puck over the right arm of Pickrell and in the net for the 1-0 goal. The team that has scored first in every game of the series has been able to hold on for the victory in all six games.

Despite the goal, the Flyers would score one before the end of the first. This time, it was Connor Rigney who was able to get a goal off of a lucky bounce, knocking off Vince Palermo’s arm and in to tie it up late in the frame.

The Blades got off to an incredible start in the second. Just 2:43 into the second, Brandon Hughes picked up a rebound from Bales on the doorstep, knocking it in before Pickrell could even come close to finding it. 12 seconds later, Josh Kosack kept the fans on their feet with a great wrist shot goal, picking the puck below the goal line before spinning it and blasting it past Pickrell for the two goal lead.

Orangeville had a bit of luck on their side with 11 minutes to go. With Brandon Hughes serving an extended penalty, Ian Nichols found himself in front of the Oakville net, knocking the puck past Mannella to cut the Oakville lead to just one.

The third period wasn’t as positive of a start for the Blades. After Austin Broadhurst looked to have a slight skate issue, Darren Nesbitt skated down the ice and beat Mannella through the five-hole, tying the contest up at three. The game appeared to be heading in the same direction as game six, as Orangeville fought back to tie the game late after some great action at both ends of the ice.

Oakville was feisty right after giving up the lead, following up with many great scoring chances. The best chance for Oakville came with 11 minutes left in the third when Kamil Tkaczuk danced in all alone and deked Pickrell out of position. Unfortunately for Oakville, the puck somehow tipped off Pickrell’s pads and stayed out, keeping the game tied at three.

Nobody was sitting down for the final ten minutes. With both teams trading quality scoring chances, it was going to come down to the wire. For Oakville, the ending proved to be in their favour, as Bales sent the puck to Ryan Garvey in front, who fired the puck past Pickrell with nine seconds remaining in the game to get the game-winning goal for the Blades. The goal proved to be a massive one, as it signalled the end of the series and the completion of a major comeback. The Blades rallied back from a 3-1 deficit in the series to advance to the next round.

Check out OakvilleBlades.ca this week as the schedule for the conference semi-finals against the defending OJHL champions, the Toronto Patriots, is set to begin this week.



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