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Late Goal by Tyler Rollo Leads Oakville to 2-1 Victory over Toronto Patriots

Oakville Blades congratulating themselves on the ice in 16 mile sports complex | Steve Ellis, The Hockey House
Oakville Blades congratulating themselves on the ice in 16 mile sports complex | Steve Ellis, The Hockey House

The Oakville Blades will head into game three on Tuesday with lots of momentum, tying up the series at one apiece after defeating the Toronto Patriots 2-1.

If there is one thing that the Blades have been doing well this year, it’s been outshooting their opponent. In the first period alone, the Blades held a 13-4 shot advantage, making Mat Robson work his tail off early in the contest. Unfortunately for the Blades, their early series scoring struggles weren’t reversed in the first period, with the team unable to find a hole through Robson just yet.

The second period started out with a dangerous hit from behind. Vince Palermo, the Blades' captain,  tried to make a play behind the net, Quinton Syrydiuk came in charging hard and hit the Palermo from behind. The play resulted in Syrydiuk earning a game misconduct, while Palermo was able to stick around without missing a shift.

The action really started to pick up later in the second. First, Patriot Marcus Rose scored his second goal of the series after rushing to the net and tipping a shot from the slot. Unfortunately for last year’s OJHL champions, the goal was waved off after it was ruled that Rose had knocked Blades goaltender Daniel Mannella down on the play.

Oakville had a few great chances near the end of the second. Whether it be Ross Sloan’s little deke in front, Brandon Hughes’ empty net attempt or Greg Campbell’s rip from the point, Oakville made sure to add a little life in the final few minutes.

With five minutes off the clock in the third, the Blades finally were able to end the scoreless tie. Oakville had the always quick Matt Lippa buzzing around the net, looking for a formidable teammate to send the puck off to. Luckily for him, Brandon Hughes was wide open in front, and Oakville’s leading scorer ripped the puck over Robson’s glove and in for the 1-0 goal. It proved to be the first goal Robson had allowed in the series, giving the Blades the huge momentum shift that they needed.

Mannella has proven to be one of Oakville’s top players after two games, and with 11 minutes to go, his save on Nicholas Geiser could be the best save of the OJHL playoffs. Geiser attempted to beat Mannella glove side, but after the puck was deflected away, he decided to try his luck elsewhere. He thought he had Mannella beat on the ensuing wrap-around, but Mannella somehow got his stick on the goal line just in time and absolutely robbed Geiser, much to the delight of the many Oakville fans in attendance.

The Blades weren’t done. With time winding down on the clock, Tyler Rollo’s wrist shot proved to be too much for Robson, who allowed the puck to go below the blocker for the 2-0 goal. The goal caused a great deal of excitement inside Sixteen Mile Sports Complex, as the lights went out throughout the arena just minutes after. The commotion meant that the game would be delayed for approximately ten minutes, but at the point the damage had already been done. The Patriots were able to get a goal with 18 seconds left in the game, but Rollo’s late marker was good enough to help lead the Blades to the eventual 2-1 victory.

The two teams will battle it out again tomorrow when the series shifts back to Westwood Arena for game three. The game is set for 7:30pm, hope to see you there!