The Premier Fall playoffs first round pits the third place Mississauga Hawks against the defending DP Champions Brampton Midnight Express. In the other quarter-final matchup the Toronto Thunder will face the North York Hitmen. Both these matchups have interesting plots so who has the advantage? The number one and two seeds, Metro Orangemen and Vaughan Red Wings, receive a bye to the semi-finals.
(3) Mississauga Hawks vs. (6) Brampton Express
Who would have thought that these two would face each other in the first round. Many predicted that these would be the two teams receiving the byes at this point, not preparing to face off in a QF round matchup. Ex- Express Captain and current Hawk Captain Matt Tremblett will look to knock off his former mates and reach the round of four. The regular season series was won by the Hawks 2-1. The Hawks will lean heavily on Amelio Mallozzi with the season ending injury to Paul Zarnett. Mallozzi will be tested in his first Premier playoff series start. The Express with All World goaltender Dave DiGironimo will have to be at his all-time best and the Hawks will need all their snipers at full speed to beat this acrobatic keeper. The quiet battle will happen behind the benches as Frank Zampini and Chris Malkahassian will lock horns in a chess match where every move will prove crucial. So who has the upper hand in this veteran laden series? The PP of the Express will play a pivotal role in the outcome. With the likes of Montiero, Morrison, Pereira, Hannon and Porter on the same unit the penalty killers of the Hawks will have their hands full. On the flip side of the coin can the Express slow down the line of Tremblett, Gill and D’Ambrosio who have lit the lamp at an alarming pace all season. As even as these two teams may be only one can advance. Who will it be…your guess is as good as mine! I will make sure to get a front row seat to this series, so should you.
(4) North York Hitmen vs. (5) Toronto Thunder
This will be a tale of two storylines. The offence of the Thunder against the defence of the Hitmen. Giffin, Principe, Goncalves, Hebbes, Duarte, Filice the list goes on and on, the Thunder are loaded with top notch high powered scorers. Victor Azevedo was the Hitmen’s leading point getter supplying twenty one scoring points .The Hitmen gave up only 56 goals in the regular season only one goal away from leading the division for the least goals against. So who wins the battle of offence against defence? The Hitmen’s duo of Clark and Flores has been solid all season, so who does coach Gaetano give the starting nod to in game one? The Hitmen may be one of the stingiest teams in giving up goals but they also were the second lowest scoring team in the division. The Thunder took the regular season series 2-1.Thunder defenceman and All-Star Kal Kakish has been logging over twenty minutes of floor time a game, can he keep up that pace? Goaltender Dan Giffin has been in this position before so he is battle tested and could win the series on his own. The Gaetano factor and his hours of preparation will be vital in the success the Hitmen could attain. The young legs of the Hitmen versus the veteran experience of the Thunder, which will prove too much to handle? This series will be a high tempo, intensity filled affair where OT may be needed in every game to decide a winner.
All the action takes place starting this Monday, February 4 inside the Hangar. Admission is free. The first ball drops at 8pm, come early to get a front row seat to the best Ball Hockey action in the Province. The Road to the National Ball Hockey Association Championships starts here!