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Steelheads snap Bulldogs win streak at six games

Brantford BulldogsSteelheads snap Bulldogs win streak at six games

Mississauga Steelheads defeated the Brantford Bulldogs 5-3, snapping the home team’s six-game winning streak, on Sunday, January 28, 2024.

The Bulldogs hit the power play early in the contest with the line of Marek Vanacker, Jake O’Brien and Zakary Lavoie setting a blistering pace from puck drop. Ryerson Leenders showed early and often why he sits second in the OHL in save percentage, turning aside several quality opportunities early on.

The Steelheads fed off their goaltender’s handiwork, opening the scoring on their first official shot of the game at 10:04, as Marc Boudreau tipped a left half-wall shot by Adam Zidlicky for his ninth of the season. Marek Vanacker answered back for the Bulldogs at 13:53, drawing a penalty shot off Finn Harding as he hauled the Bulldogs winger down on a breakaway. Going one on one with Ryerson Leenders, Vanacker worked from the right circle to the middle of the ice, beating Leenders five-hole to record his 26th goal of the season and run his point streak to ten games. T

he hosts took the lead just over a minute and a half later on the power-play going tic-tac-goal as Jake O’Brien set up Zakary Lavoie on the right side who dealt it to Florian Xhekaj in front of Leenders, scoring his 16th of the season, making it 2-1 for the Buldogs. The Steelheads evened up the frame at 18:14 with a pass from Jack Van Volsen to William Eggleton who sent a long drive from the right point for his fifth of the season knotting the score 2-2. The Steelheads jump back on the lead at 19:51 as Jack Van Volsen won a faceoff directly to Jakub Fibigr whose shot from the top of the left circle deflected off Matteo Drobac’s blocker and in the low corner to get his fifth of the season, staking the Steelheads to a 3-2 lead through 20 minutes. 

The Steelheads added to their lead quickly in the middle frame at just 0:59 seconds, after Zakary Lavoie dented the goal post behind Leenders. Lucas Moore was felled blocking a left wing Jack Van Volsen shot from the top of the circle, with the Bulldogs defenseman down, Van Volsen was able to take immediate advantage and shortside shelf his 12th of the season and collect his second point of the game, bubbling the Steelheads lead to 4-2. Van Volsen’s goal marked the end of the afternoon for Matteo Drobac as the Bulldogs called on David Egorov, looking for a momentum change. Florian Xhekaj looked to cut into the Steelheads lead getting the puck to Calvin Crombie but Leenders came up with the best of his eleven stops in the period to keep the 4-2 lead. Just after a Steelheads power play advantage expired, Angus MacDonell scores his 16th of the season coming off a great keep in and set up from Parker von Richter working off the left half boards at 14:14. After 40 minutes, the Steelheads skated to the locker room holding the 5-2 lead over the Bulldogs. 

The final frame saw the Bulldogs plow 16 shots on Leenders in a valiant attempt to battle back into the game. The Bulldogs top line looked to spark a comeback with each of Vanacker, O’Brien, and Lavoie earning a chance only to have Leenders turn them aside. The Bulldogs pressure paid off 6-on-5 and cut into the Steelheads lead. At 14:50, Florian Xhekaj notched his 17th of the season and second of the game, jamming a Marek Vanacker rebound over the goal line after Tomáš Hamara helped to keep the puck in the attacking zone. In the last remaining moments, Hamara earned a breakaway splitting all five Steelheads on the ice but one more time Leenders turned the shot aside to cap a 36-save, 5-3 win for the Steelheads. 

The Brantford Bulldogs return home to battle the Sudbury Wolves on Friday, February 2, 2024, beginning there three-in-three weekend, with puck drop at 7:00pm. 

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