With literally 24 hours between games the Brampton Express came away with two thrilling OT victories. The first OT game was played Sunday night in front of a packed house at the legendary Hangar. The Express would face the Vaughan Red Wings in game three of their semi-final series. The Express would be pushed to the limit against the young feisty Wings who battled the Express step for step. The Express would get a pair from Giustini, one the OT winner, and Martello who otherwise were held relatively quite the entire series. Pulicicchio, Mentis Jr. and Renda would respond for the Wings in an epic battle that will certainly spark a rivalry that will last for years to come. A 4-3 OT victory would send the Express into the final round against the resting and waiting Toronto Thunder.
A rematch of the Summer Final was on tap as the Express and the Thunder would renew hostilities. The Thunder with a full week off after eliminating St. Mike’s were quick out of the blocks. With fresh legs and motivation the Thunder came out flying and opened a two goal spread. Captain Danny Filice and Paul Duarte both hit pay dirt and the Thunder were rolling. With a two goal lead the Thunder seemed to sit back and relax. The Express then flipped on the go switch and goals from Martello just before the break, Hannon and Tabas quickly changed the tide and the Express had suddenly grabbed a 3-2 lead. A determined group of Thunder players would not give up and defenceman Danny Pacheco would knot the score on the PP with less than five minutes left in regulation. The game would remain tied and the dreaded sudden death over time would be needed to decide a game one winner. As the crowd settled in for OT, it was over as quickly as it began. Sniper Tony Montiero would get the bounce needed to win OT games. A cross floor pass gets tipped by a Thunder defender hits Thunder keeper Dan Giffin bounces high in the air and floats almost in slow motion towards the empty net behind him. A diving attempt by Thunder defenders to try and keep the ball out goes to no avail and after one bounce it crosses the line for the game winner. Buckle up as were in for one crazy ride as game two promises to be just as exciting and entertaining as game one.
Stars of the Game
Both goaltenders Dan Giffin and David DiGironimo made many key saves which kept the game in winnable distance for both their squads. Matt Hebbes was at his all time feisty best causing havoc for the Express defenders all game. Tony Montiero seemed to have a good scoring chance every shift. MVP defencemen Daponte continued to impress and was a driving force the entire game. Veteran Mike Porter has elevated his play and was solid in all aspects of the game. Game two will spawn new heroes. Who will it be?
The series will continue as game two will take place on Monday March 5 at 9:00pm at Downsview Park inside the famous Hangar.