The Outlaws snapped a 2 game slump with a 5-4 victory over the Grandview Steelers Saturday night, thanks in part to some big performances from the leadership core.
Ryan Sharma scored a pair of goals, the first coming off of a Nic Bizzutto rebound, while the second was a rocket of a wrister from the slot near the end of a 7 minute power-play.
Baylee Wright was distributing more gifts than Purolator at Christmas. He finished with 3 helpers and an empty net goal scored from his own blueline with :54 seconds left in the game which proved to be the game winner. The Steelers Anthony Benevoli would strike for his second of the game with the goaltender pulled and :11 seconds remaining in regulation.
After the game, the soft-spoken Wright talked about what this win means for his squad.
“It felt good. The boys needed a big win and we got it tonight. This definitely proves that we can battle with the best teams and I think gives us more confidence moving forward.”
Michal Holub opened the scoring, cashing in a Wright setup after Brendan Saether’s low point shot was initially stopped by Matteo Paler-Chow in net for the Steelers. Sharma’s first goal made it 2-0 after 20 minutes.
It could have been 3-0 as Kyle Moody found the back of the net, but the officials ruled the net was off the pegs and it was disallowed.
The Outlaws made it 3-0 in the second on a Michael Hamm wrister, a goal that started off a Sammy Zeinab face off win in the Steelers end.
The Steelers got in the board with Wyatt Elmer converting a rebound after an odd-man rush.
The third period was a wild one.
Sharma scored his second with the Outlaws up a man, and they would need that goal.
The Steelers countered with a Benevoli shorthanded goal and a Lucas Mercer power-play job. One more goal for each team in the final minute wrapped up an entertaining, and at times, nerve wracking hockey game.
Coach Brad Veitch said the good start was a big factor in the win.
“Getting the lead (was a big factor). It got the energy up on the bench with a few early goals. I think the momentum just took over from there.”
The late charge by the Steelers is something Veitch hopes will be a good reminder for his team that the game is 60 minutes long.
“I think it was a really good learning experience for us. We haven’t been playing with the lead…a whole lot as of late. It was a little unfamiliar territory. I think after the short handed goal (by Benevoli) it threw us off a bit, and we started squeezing our sticks. We just need to realize we have to make the game simple when we are out in front. I do love the fact, though, hat we battled through it and got the result we needed.”
A pair of big games this week begin with a visit to Richmond Thursday to play the Sockeyes, followed by what should be an intense affair with the Abbotsford Pilots at the MLC Saturday.