Friday Highlights: Steelheads swimming up the Central


NHL Draft hopeful James Hardie notched a pair of goals as his Mississauga Steelheads doubled up the Oshawa Generals by a score of 4-2 to collect their seventh win in their last 10 games. Hardie (20) struck midway through the opening period and was followed up by rookie Chas Sharpe’s first career OHL goal. Oshawa overager Brett Neumann (31, 32) potted two in a row to even the score as the league’s current leading goal scorer. Third year Steelhead Ty Collins (8) put the Fish ahead before Hardie (21) put one into the empty net to finish things off. Kai Edmonds totaled 32 saves on the night while Oshawa’s Jordan Kooy saved 25 of the 28 shots he faced. The Fish now sit four points out of first place in the Central Division with an 18-22-2-1 record, while the Gens continue to dwindle in the middle of the East Division at 21-14-3-2.


Minnesota Wild draftee Matvey Guskov accounted for half of London’s goals as they skated past the Sudbury Wolves in a 4-1 decision. The club retired former London Knight and current Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane’s number 88 in a pregame ceremony ahead of puck drop. A highlight reel goal from OHL veteran David Levin (19) gave the Wolves a brief lead that was very quickly disrupted by Ottawa Senators prospect Jonathan Gruden (17). Guskov (9, 10) and San Jose Sharks pick Ryan Merkley (11) scored in the second period to bring London up by three, a lead they would carry to the final buzzer. Rookie netminder Brett Brochu recorded 28 saves on 29 shots, while Sudbury’s Christian Purboo finished with 34 saves on the 38 shots he faced. The Knights boast a 26-13-1-1 record and have now won eight of their last 10 games, placing them second in the Midwest and just two points back of the equally hot Kitchener Rangers. Sudbury remains atop the Central Division with a 21-20-0-1 record to their name, only four points ahead of the not-so-distant second place Mississauga Steelheads.


Newly acquired Saginaw centreman Ryan Suzuki’s first OHL career hat-trick and four-point total helped guide the Spirit to a 5-2 win over the Soo Greyhounds, launching them to first place in the Western Conference at 54 points, a total they currently share with the Midwest-leading Kitchener Rangers. Joe Carroll (10) got the Greyhounds on the board first, but Saginaw responded with two from Suzuki (6, 7) and one from top NHL Draft prospect Cole Perfetti (24) in between. Zack Trott (16) nabbed one more for the Soo a minute before Suzuki completed his hat-trick (8). A final goal with less than a minute to go in the game from Jake Goldowski (12) capped off the final score of 5-2. Tristan Lennox finished the night with 34 saves on 36 shots in net for the Spirit. Nick Malik’s 26 saves in his OHL debut came on 29 shots. The Hounds remain fourth in the West Division at .500 with a record of 20-20-2-0, while Saginaw’s third straight victory bumps them to 26-12-2-2.


Ottawa 67’s sophomore Alec Belanger scored the shootout winner in Friday night’s 5-4 edge of the Flint Firebirds on home ice. Rookie Brennan Othmann (9) found the back of the net on a breakaway to open the scoring before Ottawa responded with goals from Mitchell Hoelscher (22), Jack Quinn (31), and Marco Rossi (27). The Firebirds tied the game thanks to Braeden Kressler (3) and Evgeniy Oksentyuk (21), whose franchise record-setting point streak reached its 17th game. Garreffa (25), who wrapped up a three-point night, reinstated the Ottawa lead before Firebirds overager Jake Durham (16) forced overtime, tying the score at four with 1:27 to spare. Quinn, Garreffa, and Belanger were all successful in the shootout, helping the Barber Poles earn their 32nd win on the year. Goaltenders Cedrick Andree and Luke Cavallin each made 26 saves. Ottawa remains on top of the OHL standings while the Firebirds remain third in the West Division at 22-16-1-1.


Maxim Golod’s three-point night helped the Erie Otters scoop up a third straight win as they edged the host Sarnia Sting 4-3 on Friday night. Fourth year Sting skater Sean Josling (28) put his team on the board early before goals from Jacob Golden (2), Chad Yetman (23), and a shorthanded marker from Daniel D’Amato (13) put the Otters in front. Sting scorers Ryan McGregor (17) and Theo Hill (7) evened the score within the middle frame before Erie sophomore Brendan Hoffmann (9) scored the game winner within the final eight minutes. Sarnia’s second straight loss and ninth in their last 10 games keeps them fifth in the West Division, holding a 16-23-4-0 record. The Otters also remain fifth in the Midwest with a 19-14-2-6 tally.


Ivan Lodnia was the lone shootout scorer as the Niagara IceDogs defeated the Central Division rival Barrie Colts 4-3. Nathan Allensen (6) scored 33 seconds in to give the Colts an early lead until Lodnia (22) and Cameron Butler (13), who earned his first goal with the team, found the back of the net to push the Dogs ahead. Ethan Cardwell (13) and Evan Vierling (4) reclaimed Barrie’s lead, before Oliver Castleman (17) extended his point streak to a 15th straight game to force overtime. The extra frame wouldn’t solve anything, but Lodnia’s shootout winner would finally snap the Dogs’ four game losing skid. The shots ended 36-33 in favour of the Colts, who haven’t seen any wins in their past five games. Their two points earned helps them jump ahead of the Colts at third in the Central Division with a 16-19-4-1 record. Barrie falls to 16-20-2-2.


Two goal performances from Greg Meireles, Dallas Stars prospect Riley Damiani, and rookie Declan McDonnell propelled the Kitchener Rangers to a lopsided 9-2 win over the North Bay Battalion. The Rangers jumped ahead 5-0 off the sticks of Francesco Pinelli (14), Liam Hawel (11), Meireles (19, 20), and Damiani (18) before North Bay’s Luke Moncada (21) finally got on the scoreboard. Kitchener’s next four came from Damiani (19), McDonnell (9, 10), and Arizona Coyotes prospect Axel Berqvist (4) who finished with three points in the win. Rookie Josh Currie (3) scored with 12 seconds left to give the Battalion their second goal of the night. The Rangers improve to 25-11-4-2 at the top of the Midwest Division with the eighth win of their last 10 games, while the Troops drop to 9-30-2-0 at fifth in the Central Division.


The Owen Sound Attack scored four straight goals to skate past the visiting Guelph Storm 4-1 on Friday night, handing them their fifth consecutive loss. Kaleb Pearson (16), Barret Kirwin (19), Matthew Struthers (17), and Adam McMaster (13) lifted the Attack up 4-0, right before rookie Cooper Walker (2) spoiled Mack Guzda’s shutout bid with a late third period goal for Guelph. Owen Bennett stopped 29 of 33 shots he faced between the pipes for the Storm, while Guzda totaled 25 saves on 26 attempts. The Attack climb to 20-16-3-3 and stick around at fourth in the Midwest while tied with the fifth place Erie Otters for 46 points. The Storm are now just three points ahead of the Attack at third in the division with a 22-13-1-4 record.

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