MISSISSAUGA – The Plymouth Whalers exploded for five goals in the third period to snap a 3-3 tie and the Whalers went on to defeat the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, 8-4, in an Ontario Hockey League game played Sunday afternoon before 1,582 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.
Plymouth is now 6-5-2-0; Mississauga is now 9-3-0-1.
The Whalers won two-out-of three games on the road this weekend, winning 5-1 in Erie on Friday, losing 4-0 in Niagara on Saturday and winning this afternoon in impressive fashion in the third period. If Plymouth had tired legs in the third period of a third game in less than three nights, it didn’t show. The
Whalers’ forecheck in the third period proved to be the difference in the game.
J.T. Miller led the way for the Whalers with two goals (5-6) and two assists and was +4 as the game’s first star. Plymouth captain Beau Schmitz scored a power play goal (2nd) and contributed two assists and was +5 as the game’s second star. Alex Aleardi scored twice in the decisive third period (5-6) – including the game-winner – and assisted on linemate Andy Bathgate’s goal as the game’s third star. Jamie Devane (4) and Michael Whaley (first of the season) also scored for the Whalers.
Scott Teskey (2), Brett Foy (2), Sergey Kupstov (7) and Trevor Carrick (first OHL goal) replied for the Majors.
Miller is a North-South skater who forechecks and hounds the puck in the offensive zone. He scored at 3:32 of the first period, teaming up with linemates Tom Wilson and Mitchell Heard to score the first goal of the game. The Majors came back to take a 2-1 lead later in the period on goals by Tesky at 13:32 (scoring from the right circle through traffic off a face-off win) and Foy at 17:48 (low snap shot from the right circle).
Early in the second period, Whalers center Mitchell Heard was ejected from the game for checking from behind at 0:32 after checking Majors defenseman Stuart Percy hard to the end-wall in the Mississauga zone.
Plymouth tied the game at 2-2 midway through the second period at 11:12 on the power play, with Miller and Austin Levi setting up Schmitz in the high slot, who buried a well-placed low shot just inside the left post to tie the game. But the Major re-took the lead at 3-2 just 0:51 later when Jordan Mayer went wide right wing in the Plymouth zone a got the shot on Whalers goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who made the save. But Kuptsov pounced on the rebound to score.
That set the stage for the decisive third period. Plymouth capped good pressure in the Mississauga zone on Bathgate’s goal at 4:17 for a 4-3 lead. Bathgate chased the puck behind the Mississauga net and found Aleardi, who hit Bathgate with a return pass at the right circle. Bathgate made no mistake with the shot.
The Whalers then scored a critical goal to tie the game at 3-3 at 15:38 of the second period. Miller did much of the work, crashing the Majors net and getting several pokes at the pucks near the blue ice against Mississauga goaltender J.P. Anderson. The puck squirted free and with Rickard Rakell and Jamie Devane both trying their get the sticks on the puck, it finally trickled over the goal line. The goal was credited to Devane, but all three Plymouth forwards were in the vicinity.
Plymouth took a 5-3 lead exactly two minutes later at 6:17 on Aleardi’s first goal of the afternoon. Working well against with linemates Devane and Bathgate, Aleardi potted home a rebound off Bathgate’s shot from the hashmarks. After Anderson allowed a rebound, Aleardi scored on a backhand from the left hashmark.
Whaley took the place of Heard on the line with Miller and Wilson and scored his first goal of the season at 12:37 of the third period to give the Whalers a 6-3 lead, capping a 2-on-1 after Miller served a penalty and joined the rush. Whaley moved into the Mississauga zone with Miller, skated to the left circle and – using Miller as a decoy – scored, top shelf.
Carrick scored for Mississauga from the high slot at 16:07 to cut the Plymouth lead to 6-4, but Miller scored on the empty net, taking a crisp head-man pass from Schmitz out of the Plymoth zone and scoring on the left wing in neutral ice. Alreadi added an exclamation point to a well-earned victory with his second goal of the period at 19:53.The last time Plymouth scored eight goals came last season in an 8-2 victory over Sarnia at Compuware Arena on Jan. 15, 2011.
Plymouth remains on the road Wednesday in Saginaw against the Spirit (88.1FM, www.plymouthwhalers.com, 7pm) and Friday in Sault Ste. Marie (7:25pm, www.plymouthwhalers.com) before returning home Saturday to host Kingston at 7:05pm at Compuware Arena.