Whalers Complete Weekend Road Sweep With 5-0 Win in Mississauga
Plymouth improves to 37-17-5-4 with win.
MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO — Mitchell Heard scored twice and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic stopped all 24 shots he faced as the Plymouth Whalers defeated the Mississauga Steelheads, 5-0, on Sunday before 2,756 at the Hershey Centre.
Besides Heard's pair (10-11), Plymouth also received goals from Zach Lorentz (12), Vince Trocheck (46) and Cody Payne (22).
The Whalers improve to 37-17-5-4, good for 83 points and first place in the Ontario Hockey League's West Division. Plymouth is nine points ahead of second place Sault Ste. Marie (34-22-3-3, 74 points), who defeated Peterborough, 4-0, on Sunday.
Plymouth is 23-6-0-1 since Dec. 27 and went 3-0 on the road this weekend, defeating Niagara, 7-1, on Thursday and Erie, 7-2, on Friday.
Mississauga (now 25-32-0-5) is the lowest scoring team in the OHL with 167 goals scored and had no answer for the Whalers' overall good team defense. The Steelheads are 7-20-0-2 since the Christmas Break and are tied for seventh place with Kingston in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
The Whalers' depth continues to carry the club. Captain Colin MacDonald and Rickard Rakell missed the game with minor injuries, In addition, Tom Wilson was ejected from the game in the second period after receiving a checking from behind major and a game misconduct. But everyone who wore a Plymouth uniform contrbuted to a winning effort on Sunday afternoon.
Lorentz (who took the place of Rakell on a line with Stefan Noesen and Sebastian Uvira) gave Plymouth a 1-0 lead at 2:06 of the first period. Noesen set up the play, taking a hit along the left wing half-wall, but controlled the puck and found Alex Peters (+3 on the afternoon) at the left point. Peters' low shot was nowhere near the net, but Lorentz re-directed the puck from the left circle past Mississauga goaltender Tyson Teichmann.
Heard scored his first of the afternoon at 8:33 of the first period to give Plymouth a 2-0 lead, intercepting a loose puck from a Steelheads' defender and ripping a shot, top shelf, past Teichmann.
Plymouth outshot Mississauga, 13-8, in the first period.
Heard scored the only goal in the second period at 16:50, re-directing Connor Carrick's balst from the point, to give the Whalers a 3-0 lead after forty minutes.
Plymouth extended the lead to 5-0 with a pair of third period goals 1:01 apart. Noesen set up Trocheck for the fourth Plymouth goal, skating to the left hash mark and shooting a back-hand through traffic. Trocheck crashed the goal and the puck pinballed off him. After a lengthy video review by referee Mike Pryde and off-ice officials, the goal stood.
The Whalers completed the scoring at 13:11 of the third period when Payne blew a hard shot from the right circle over Teichmann's shoulder.
If Plymouth was tired in the third period, it didn't show as the Whalers outshot Mississauga, 17-10, in the period and 36-24 in the game.
MORE COVERAGE - Iain Colpitts, Mississauga News.
Nedeljkovic - who led all OHL goaltenders in February with a 1.79 goals against average - was solid in the game and had plenty of hlep from his teammates.
The Whalers continue on the road on Tuesday morning in Saginaw (10:30 a.m., 88.1 FM WSDP and www.plymouthwhalers.com). Plymouth's next home game is next Sunday, March 10, at 2 p.m. against Saginaw at Compuware Arena.