BELLEVILLE, Ont. - Brendan Gaunce scored twice Thursday to lead the Belleville Bulls to an 8-1 victory over the Mississauga Steelheads in Game 1 of their Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference quarter-final.
Scott Simmonds, Garrett Hooey, Jordan Subban, Jake Cardwell, Alan Quine and Carter Sandlak also scored for the Bulls.
Dylan DeMelo replied for Mississauga.
Both clubs set the tone for an intense first-round playoff match with three fights in the first six minutes of play. When the gloves weren't off Belleville, took the play to Mississauga and opened up a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Simmonds opened the scoring by tipping home a perfect passing play, followed by goals from Hooey and Gaunce.
DeMelo got the Steelheads on the board in the second period, but the Eastern Conference's top-ranked team answered back with goals from Subban and Gaunce to add to the lead.
Cardwell, Quine and Sandlak closed out the scoring in the third.
Malcolm Subban made 27 saves for Belleville, while Spencer Martin made 28 stops for Mississauga.
The Bulls went 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Steelheads were scoreless on their three chances.
Game 2 of the series goes Saturday in Belleville.