The Ontario Hockey League Final moved back to Ontario with game three, played tonight in Mississauga. The Erie Otters had a chance to put the series out of reach with a win, being up two games to none. But the Steelheads, with the help of two Devils prospects, got the win and are back in the series with a 4-3 victory.
Mississauga’s Ryan McLeod gave the Steelheads an early lead when he scored his fifth of the playoffs unassisted just 6:17 into the first period. The Steelheads doubled their lead very quickly into the second when Trent Fox potted one from Brendan Harrogate and Jacob Cascagnette. It was now 2-0 Mississauga.
From there, the Otters took over the game. It started at 7:46 of the second when Alex DeBrincat scored from Taylor Raddysh and Dylan Strome on the power play. That was set up when Nathan Bastian was called for hooking 25 seconds earlier. Erie had cut into Mississauga’s lead, 2-1.
Strome tied things up from DeBrincat and Raddysh at the 11:57 mark of the second and then Anthony Cirelli followed with just 35 seconds left in the period to give the Otters the lead. Cirelli got assists from Kyle Maksimovich and Erik Cernak.
So, going into the third frame, the Steelheads were in the familiar position of playing from behind on the Otters. It would take most of the period, but they would eventually break through off the sticks of two Devils’ draft picks.
First, Bastian tied things up when he scored at 9:03 from Owen Tippett and Shaw Boomhower. The game seemed destined to go to overtime until Mikey McLeod scored the game winner from Vili Saarijarvi at 14:52. That goal was on the power play and was set up when Jordan Sambrook went off form checking from behind at 14:28. On the night, Erie was 1-for-2 on the power play while the Steelheads were 1-for-3. The Steelheads hung on for the close win to get back into the series, making it two games to one.
In goal, Matthew Mancina made 23 saves on 26 shots faced for Mississauga. For the Otters, Troy Timpano made 27 saves on 31 shots in 58:28 of work.
Mikey McLeod was named the game’s first star while his brother Ryan was the second star. Shaw Boomhower was the third star.
Mikey McLeod’s stat line read one goal for a point, a minus-2 with three shots on goal and 13-for-18 in the faceoff circle. Bastian had his goal, was a plus-2 with four shots on goal and two penalty minutes. He went 12-for-23 on faceoffs.
Game four will be played on Wednesday at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.