Lopardo the hero as Rebels edge Highlanders in triple-OT
Big winger Stefano Lopardo (1) camped out in the slot, tipping a low release off the stick of underage defenceman Roman Schmidt into the back of the net as the Mississauga Rebels gutted out a 1-0 win over the Grey-Bruce Highlanders to gain access to the 2018 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour.
Lopardo’s winner came in the game’s 73rd minute at 7:18 of the third overtime, making the Wild Card Play-In finale one of the longest games in OHL Cup history.
“It’s hard to remember, it all happened so fast,” Lopardo said, gasping for breath following post-game celebrations. “I just wanted to get a stick on it and it got through his legs.”
The 2003-born Schmidt who released the initial point shot led all Rebels players with nine shots on goal in the game.
Grey-Bruce netminder Daniel Botelho was sensational, turning away 52 shots in the loss while Mississauga’s Tyler Albuquerque posted a 30-save shutout.
“Yeah both goalies, wow, “added Lopardo. “Everyone was tired. We were running out of water on the bench. That’s a goal I’ll remember for a long time.”
The Rebels advance to compete in the Shanahan Division alongside the York-Simcoe Express, Mississauga Reps, TPH Thunder and Mississauga Senators.
Grey-Bruce earned a Wild Card Play-In opportunity as the result of a 5-2 win over the Brampton 45’s in a one-game showdown. None of those goals would be had on this day however as the Highlanders see their season come to an end. Despite finishing sixth in the SCTA, they managed to rise to the occasion at SCTA Qualifiers and fought their way into the league semi-finals.
The Rebels wrap up a successful day for GTHL Wild Card clubs as they played to a collective record of 3-1.
PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Rebels – Nolan Dillingham-Morelli (6 SOG)
Grey-Bruce – Daniel Botelho (52 SV)
Stefano Lopardo tips in the triple overtime winner for the Rebels.