June 1st – Another hot night and another big game for the Saints as they make a push for a playoff spot. The Mississauga Tomahawks rolled into town with a four-point lead over Newmarket. Dylan Munro took the cage for the Saints, while Adam Brennan started for the visitors.
Despite the late arrival for several of the Tomahawks players, it was them who got the jump on the Saints, scoring twice in the first minute of action. The home side regrouped and settled in, trading chances until Brandon Tanacs fired an outside shot past the keeper to make it 2-1. Any momentum from the goal was short lived though as the Tomahawks went on another run, scoring four times in four minutes to push their lead to 6-1. Mack Nevin got one back for the Saints, burying on the power play, to send the two sides into the break at 6-2.
The second period was a much closer battle. Nevin found twine again six minutes in to make it 6-3, but Mississauga answered four minutes later to restore the four-goal cushion. Newmarket carried much of the action through the period, outshooting Mississauga 19-7, but both goaltenders shut the door. The second closed at 7-3.
In the third, things opened up. The Tomahawks scored two minutes in only to have Kavon Pinnock answer for the Saints on a fast break 18 seconds later. But, again, Mississauga replied, just 28 seconds later to make it 9-4. Undaunted, the young Saints kept pushing. It finally paid off six minutes in as Josh Conners snuck one past Brennan. Angus Rawding followed that up with one of his own 22 seconds later to make it 9-6. Tanacs cut the lead to two a few minutes later and the Saints were back in the game. The teams went back to trading chances, but Brennen and Munro stood tall.
Following a big penalty kill, the Saints had just over a minute left for a final push. An extra attacker allowed Luca Romano to find space and find the back of the net to cut the lead to one. Off the ensuing faceoff, the Saints chased down a Tomahawks defender and set off scramble for the loose ball. Mississauga managed to corral it and send it down the floor. Newmarket regained possession and called a timeout with just over a second left. A shot from centre just went wide and the Tomahawks hung on for the win.
"It was a tough start for us, giving up two goals in the first 45 seconds; they came ready to play," said Saints Head Coach, Dan Ransom Sr. "We collected ourselves after the first and our group pushed back, which has been the case all season. We came within a shot of getting that game to OT and giving ourselves a chance at a W. It's the growing pains of a young club, but also a good lesson for our group heading into the weekend."
Final score: Tomahawks 9 – Saints 8.
Up next – the Saints head east for a pair of weekend games. First up, the Far East division leading Akwesasne Indians on Saturday. First faceoff is at 7pm. On Sunday, the Saints travel to Kahnawake to play the Hunters. Game starts at 2pm.