After sixty three games the dust has settled. Three veteran teams will be faced with a quarter final round series while the two youngest team will sit and wait for their next opponents. The Wings needed all the cards to fall into place for them to receive a bye and the Hockey Gods were on their side. A loss by the Hawks and back to back wins over both the Thunder and Express afforded the Wings the number two seed and a chance to rest and get healthy for the QF round. The Orangemen claimed first place with a road victory in Mississauga 4-3. The Express and Thunder find themselves in the number five and six seeds facing the Hitmen and Hawks in what will be two hard fought series.
The Vaughan Red Wings know what’s needed to happen for them to gain a first round bye and they took care of business one step at a time. In a game that proves the tide can change very quickly the Wings found themselves down 4-3 to the Toronto Thunder with four minutes left and shorthanded for two minutes. Well that’s when the tide changed. Three shorthanded goals during the same penalty saw Joe Serpe, Frankie Grisonich and Paul Palermo all tally to put the Wings up 6-4. A Paul Duarte penalty shot late in the game made it 6-5 but that’s as close as the Thunder would get and the Wings take care of step one.
With their fate resting in their own hands the Mississauga Hawks needed a win on home floor over the division leading Metro Orangemen which would not only secure them a bye but also top seed. The Orangemen also knew that first place was on the line and their special teams didn’t let them down. A pair of powerplay goals by Ricardo Pires and Adam Carreria was the deciding factors as the Hawks fell 4-3. They would now sit and wait for a key game the following night to determine their fate. After holding onto the bye seed for the balance of the season the Hawks would hope and pray for an Express win.
Riding out the season knowing you won’t be playing in the post season may be the toughest position of all to be in. The Toronto Polar Bears to their credit gave it all they could. Playing with the bare minimum the Bears eventually lose a 6-2 decision to the North York Hitmen. The Hitmen with the win secure the number four seed and will face the high powered offence of the Toronto Thunder in the first round. John Pulicicchio and Vic Azevedo both put up three point games and Anthony Flores gains the W in goal for the Hitmen. In their first kick at the Premier can the Hitmen finish with an 8-7-3 record. The burning question is who starts in goal for the Hitmen Flores or Clark?
The last game of the regular season would decide the second bye in the playoffs. The Vaughan Red Wings having two of the three pieces falling into place would need a victory over the Brampton Express to finish second. Not an easy task. The Express would open up a 2-0 lead early. VRW would then commence to chip away eventually evening the score 2-2 before half. The Express would again gain the lead 3-2. From there on in the VRW would take control scoring four straight goals to win the game 6-3. The Wings sweep the weekend and earn the hard way a first round bye. The Express will renew hostilities with the Hawks in a must see series.
Week 16 Top Goaltenders
1. Anthony Ferrante (VRW) - two wins in weekend sweep
2. Raza Zaidi (Orangemen) - backup making season debut wins first place showdown
3. Gus Kalaitzis (Bears) - stops a bucket load of shots in season ending matchup
Week 16 Top Performers
1. Robbie Mentis (VRW) - two goals and a helper including game winner
2. Jonathan Pulicicchio (Hitmen) – three point effort versus Bears
3. Matt Tremblett (Hawks) - three point game to capture scoring title
Player of the Week
In helping his club capture second place by scoring the winning goal versus the Express Robbie Mentis of the Vaughan Red Wings wins the player of the week honours. Congratulations and see Premier Commissioner for your award.