Steelheads Display Dominance in Back-To-Back Victories

Heading into the weekend, the Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) were on a mission to get themselves closer to first place in the Central Division. Considering their upcoming two opponents were among the worse in the league, they needed to win both of these games because they were expected to. After facing the Peterborough Petes and the Niagara IceDogs and defeating both of them in a back-to-back situation, the club is now within two points on the North Bay Battalion for first place.

Let’s reflect on what happened during these matchups, as they are a tale of two stories. During the first game against the Petes, it showcased strong defensive efforts and stellar goaltending from both sides, and it was an overtime thriller that won the Steelheads the game. The matchup against the IceDogs was a dominant showing for the entire group, as the whole team came together to chip in offensively in the blowout victory.

Luca Del Bel Belluz Scores Overtime Winner

It was the first matchup between these two teams since March 7, 2021, and the goal-scoring was kept to a minimum. A key storyline for the Petes heading into the game was Quinton Pagé, who was recalled from the Petes U18 AAA team. He was one of their most notable players, and it was impressive considering that Mason McTavish didn’t play because he’s at the Team Canada World Juniors selection camp. As the game progressed, Pagé continued to make his efforts known and nearly got on the scoresheet.

Zak Lavoie Mississauga Steelheads
Zak Lavoie, Mississauga Steelheads (Image courtesy of Mississauga Steelheads)

Luke Misa scored the icebreaker as Max Dodig found the open shooting lane, and the Petes’ defenders were not covering their assignments properly in the defensive zone. Misa was all alone in the front of the net and scored on the rebound past Michael Simpson, which was his third goal of the season. He is known for his playmaking abilities and skating fast in transition, so it’s nice to see him get rewarded by scoring a goal.

Steelheads forward Ty Collins thought he scored to make it 2-0, but the goal was called back due to a high stick. The Petes started to gain momentum after the puck luck went their way, and Keegan McMullen scored to get them on the board in the second period. Another standout for them was Joe Carroll, an over-age forward for the team. He stripped Evan Brand of the puck to generate a high-danger scoring chance, was strong on the forecheck, and was physical along the boards.

Related: Steelheads Late Goal Leads To Victory Over Generals

During the third period, another goal was called back, which was heartbreaking. Pagé was very tenacious in retrieving the puck behind the net and made a skilled play to get around Charlie Callaghan. He brought it back for the wrap-around attempt, and he scored through the five-hole of Roman Basran in his first-ever game. Sadly, it was called back due to goaltender interference, so the game remained tied at one, eventually needing overtime. Luca Del Bel Belluz scored a highlight-reel goal, as he went end-to-end, to win the game for the Steelheads, 2-1, and displayed his fantastic puck handling and skating abilities.

Owen Beck’s Hat Trick Highlights Dominant Performance

Compared to just three goals that were scored combined in the game above, this one was a different story. Early on, the IceDogs’ defenders were making sloppy plays in their end, specifically Isaac Enright passing it up the middle of the ice and Del Bel Belluz nearly intercepting for a breakaway chance. Another storyline was the number of penalties taken by both teams, as six were taken before the game’s first goal, which wouldn’t slow it down as it progressed.

James Hardie Mississauga Steelheads
James Hardie, Mississauga Steelheads (Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Owen Beck scored the icebreaker on the power play, which was the first of three goals on the night for him. His second goal of this matchup was an example of hard work paying off and catching a goaltender off-guard. On this play, instead of immediately shooting after receiving the pass from Del Bel Belluz, he glided towards the net and waited for the IceDogs defender to go on his knees. After that happened, it allowed him more room for a shooting lane, and he buried it over the shoulder of Josh Rosenzweig.

By this point, Joseph Constanzo, who is just 16 years old came in to relieve Rosenzweig after he allowed five goals midway through the game. After the Steelheads dumped the puck into the offensive zone, Beck forechecked and stripped the puck off Constanzo behind the net. He skated back around the front and waited the extra second before shooting a backhander over at the sprawling IceDogs netminder. 

Beck also scored the final goal of this game in the dying seconds of the third period to make it 9-1. Zender Veccia drove through the middle of the ice, and Beck trailed behind him to get himself open in a shooting position. Score effects were a factor in this play, as the IceDogs were not covering their assignments properly, and he was left wide open to score for the hat-trick goal. Among the other standouts in this matchup was James Hardie, who scored one goal and had two assists on the night, and Aidan Prueter, who scored twice in this game.

In a Sunday afternoon matchup at the Paramount Fine Foods Center, the Steelheads play the Kingston Frontenacs, who will not have Shane Wright in the lineup since he’s at Team Canada’s selection camp. They continue to push for first place in the Central Division and will have a chance to make it closer in this game.

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