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Goal-challenged Steelheads need consistent scoring

Mississauga scored 5 against Sarnia but offense has struggled

Mississauga has failed to generate offence all season, and may be the reason why the club could miss the playoffs

Sporting the second-lowest goal total in the Ontario Hockey League, the Mississauga Steelheads are ready for an offensive outbreak.

Mississauga has scored 29 times this season, with 10 coming in the last three games.

A balanced scoring attack led Mississauga to a 5-3 win over the Sarnia Sting on Thursday, with five different goal scorers.

But without a player in the top 20 in league scoring, the Steelheads have been rescued by goaltender Spencer Martin so far this season.

Riley Brace leads the team with 14 points through 11 games, and is 22nd in the league.

Nonetheless, there have been promising signs throughout the last three contests as 2012 first-round selection Damian Bourne has become more involved in the offence, and has seemingly found a connection with veteran centre Brett Foy.

Moreover, former Barrie Colt Dylan Smoskowitz has adjusted well to his new surroundings in Mississauga, with 10 points.

The Richmond Hill native was selected as the OHL’s Player of the Week for the October 8-14 term.

Aside from Brace and Smoskowitz, the team has struggled to find its offensive identity this season.

It is still too early to call Mississauga’s win over Sarnia an offensive outlier, but the Steelheads’ scoring-by-committee approach has had tenuous results at best.

Mississauga’s veterans have been wildly inconsistent at finishing chances, and the team needs some semblance of relentless offensive output, or they will fail to reach its potential.

Stuart Percy, the 25th overall pick in the 2011 NHL draft and Dylan DeMelo have contributed offence from the blue line, but asking the duo to carry a significant load of the scoring would be unrealistic.

Unfortunately, the immediate road ahead presents challenges for the goal-challenged team.

Mississauga’s final match of a four-game road trip is on the road against the Belleville Bulls, who have allowed a league-best 24 goals, led by an outstanding campaign from Boston’s 2012 first-round pick Malcolm Subban.

The team returns home against Brampton on Friday, starting a four-game home stand that ought to boost the team’s goal total.

Mississauga is currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, and will need more games like the one against Sarnia if they are to ascend through the rankings.