Owen Tippett, right, celebrates the 11th goal of the game for the Mississauga Steelheads in an 11-3 romp against the Guelph Storm.

Steelheads hit the road on a high after huge victory

Owen Tippett, Nicolas Hague lead offensive charge with combined 7 points against Storm

After a difficult 1-4 start for the Mississauga Steelheads, an 11-3 thrashing of the Guelph Storm might be signalling the winds of change.

Guelph (3-5-0-0) could have easily blown the Steelheads (3-4-0-0) away after Mississauga gave up early goals to Liam Stevens and Givani Smith. But goaltender Matthew Mancina knew the players in front of him had it in them to get back in the game.

The Steelheads netminder was picked up by a flurry of goals from Brendan Harrogate, Jacob Moverare and a pair from Owen Tippett within a six-minute span in the first period and the team didn’t look back.

“It was big for us to score a bunch of goals like that,” the 20-year-old Mancina said after a 38-save performance. “Once we jumped out to that lead (in the first period) everyone was more relaxed and it settled the whole team down.”

The team settled into a scoring frenzy, highlighted by defenceman Nicolas Hague’s first career hat-trick and five assists from Nathan Bastian.

The Steelheads’ victory in pictures

Mississauga now has a tough road trip ahead in Michigan against the Flint Firebirds and Saginaw Spirit. The Firebirds are a team the Steelheads are familiar with, after beating them in a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 shootout last week.

“I think our win against Flint was a pretty big turning point,” Mancina said. “And with (the win against Guelph) we’ve just carried that over and hopefully that will continue.”

The Firebirds have yet to lose on home ice and have two of the top three scorers in the OHL in Ryan Moore and Nicholas Caamano.

“It’s going to be a tough game (against Flint),” Mancina said. “I don’t think there’s anything specific to do to stop (Moore and Caamano) … I just need to play my game and hope for the best.”

Tippett, who finished with two goals and one assist, tried to not get too high after the blowout win, but admitted it does give the team a much needed boost.

“It feels good because we’ve certainly been struggling to get a win like that,” Tippett said. “It’s just good vibes in the room right now.”

With the Steelheads’ top scorers Bastian and Michael McLeod back in the fold, and a plethora of scoring from all lines, it is hard to not feel good in the locker room.

And the Steelheads are poised to build off their strong offensive momentum.

“I think everyone pegged us as the number one team in the conference and we’re starting to play like that now so hopefully we can begin to jump up in the standings,” Mancina said.