With the official start of the 2012 Premier season just a few days we kick it all off with the Pre Season Tournament. There are many interesting story lines in the matchups in this intense four day tournament. It may be a tune up for the start of the regular season but once the Orange Ball drops intensity kicks in. So here is a look at some must see games and with the new makeup of many of the Premier teams anything can happen.
Thursday, April 12 at 7:30pm
There’s always a quite sense of excitement before the opening game of any season. The honor this year falls on the shoulders of the Metro Orangemen and the Toronto Polar Bears. The Bears, after an outstanding opening season in Premier where they went on a thirteen game winning streak and an opening round playoff ousting of the Iron Men in Niagara no less, look to become Premier Champions in only their second kick at the can. Adding veteran scorers Mauro and Claudio Mignosa the Bears have improved an already explosive offence. 2011 Rookie of the Year Andrew Howes, Chris Monaghan and Nelson Soares add the youth, grit and finesse to a balanced lineup. Goaltender Gus Kalaitzis plays a solid technical game in the Bears goal. The young Orangemen will need to play sound, air tight defence. Chris Creador and Chris Cerquiera will log huge minutes as the Orangemen tend to lean to a defense first system. The tandem of Ricardo Pires and Randy Kelly will be relied on to produce goals in low scoring games. A helping hand from Gary Costa, Terry Roache and Paul Lima will be a big boost to an offence needing an offensive spark. Opening night games are always on the exciting side and this one will prove that and much, much more.
Thursday, April 12 at 9:30pm
Here’s an opening night matchup we may see more and more of over the coming seasons. The Vaughan Red Wings will kick off their first Premier summer season facing off with the defending Premier Pre Season Champions the Toronto Thunder. This game could go a long way in deciding who tops the division in this group. Both clubs were semi finalists in the past Fall season and this opening night matchup has the potential to be one of the best games of the tournament. Vaughan led by young scoring sensation Sam Renda can fill the back of the net quickly. Marco Goncalves reigning Premier Top Forward and Fall MVP Massimo Principe lead a group of Thunder forwards that may be tops in the Premier. This game could be a barn burner and a high scoring affair could be in the making. This is a game you don’t want to miss.
Friday, April 13 at 7:30pm
With the start of a new season comes renewed hope and anticipation. The Oshawa Bruins looking to rebound from a disappointing 2011 season get their chance early to show the world that they are back and ready to contend. Off season pickups by GM Andrew “Chevy” Platt has turned the mighty Bruins back into contenders. Adding back three veterans Jason Toth, Paul Loughery and Sepehr Dijouri in a block buster trade with the Hawks and adding speedster Anthony Novia from the North York Leafs dispersal draft has solidified the scoring punch the Bruins lacked in 2011. Their first hurdle will be a date with the Defending National Champions the Brampton Express. Goaltender David DiGironimo looks to lead his club to a fifth straight Summer Premier Championship. Frankie Giustini and Tony Montiero form a deadly 1, 2 punch as both are considered the top snipers in the sport today. This game could come down to a goaltenders battle as Platt and DiGironimo have hooked up in some classic battles over the years.
Saturday, April 14 at 9am
Set your alarm clocks for a look at the new and improved Mississauga Hawks. After a slew of draft week moves and trades the Hawks have a new look and optimistic confidence for the upcoming season. Adding many house hold names around the Premier ranks the Hawks have improved all positions. Second overall Dispersal Draft pick Paul Zarnett tending goal, the addition of Daniel Sisca and Rob Barbowski two of the top ten defencemen in the division today, Mike Gaggi easily top six forwards on any team and from the 2011 season adding forward Matt Tremblett. Behind the bench a veteran of the Premier wars and a two time Premier Champion Frank Zampini will help lead this group into battle. St. Mikes look to have had the Hawks number over the years and this game will be a tight affair. Premier Fall All Star Goaltender Anthony Flores gives his club a chance to win every night and will need to be at his all time best to slow down the Hawks revamped offence. Jon Macri and Danny Novis have risen to Premier standouts and their quick strike counter attack may catch the Hawks on their heels. As they say “the early bird catches the worm”, which of these two will be early to rise?
Saturday, April 14 at 6pm
This game could feature possibly the top wild card contenders as the Leominster Flyers will face the Niagara Generals in the final round robin game of the preliminary stage. Both these clubs were in the final four of the 2011 Pre Season Tournament and both look to better their finishes from last year. The Generals return under new management as Jason Capaldi will make his Premier debut leading his club into the top flight ball hockey division. With many of the Iron Men returning with the Generals, Mike Hedden, Darren Chapman and new scoring sensation Chris Risi will be a formidable tandem up front. The Americans as they are commonly referred to will be lead by team USA scoring wizard Bobby Housser who can win games on his own. The Flyers shocked many clubs last year by reaching the semi finals as they ousted many of our Premier clubs before falling to the Toronto Thunder 2-0 in a game that could have gone either way. One of these two could ultimately be in the winners circle after the dust has settled.
All the fun begins Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 pm at the Woodbridge Memorial Arena, corner of Islington and Hwy 7. Come early bring your refreshments and get prepared for edge of your seat excitement, the way ONLY Premier Ball Hockey can offer.