It’s only one night into the Premier playoffs and what a night of Ball Hockey we were treated to. Both our game one quarter-final games needed extra time and one needed 24 shooters to decide a winner.
The Mississauga Hawks deserved a better fate in their game one quarter final match up versus the Brampton Express. The Hawks had numerous scoring chances but just couldn’t bury that decisive goal and paid for their lack of finishing with a 3-2 OT loss. An early goal put the Hawks up but the Express would tie the game on a blast from Frankie Giustini to even the game. Defencemen Dan Conte on a low wrist shot gave the Hawks the lead just seconds after the Giustini goal. We would once again be tied as Garrett Bambourgh would find a loose ball and square the game at two. The second period would see both teams go scoreless, thanks mainly to the play of Express goaltender David DiGironimo who made at least three game saving stops the biggest was a blocker saves on Hawk sniper Allen Penney with minutes left. Hawk captain Matt Tremblett with a clear shot from the slot was also robbed and OT would be needed to decide a winner. In a back and forth OT period a lucky bounce would prove to be the winner. An unlikely hero in the form of Brandon Ianuzzi from the corner throws the ball at the Hawks goal and it finds a way to beat Mallozzi in the Hawks goal for the game winner. Game two is set for February 10 at 7pm. If you want to see top notch Ball Hockey, the Hangar is the place to be.
Twenty Four shooters, never in my twenty years of Ball Hockey have I witnessed a 24 man shootout, that changed on Monday night. In a tale of two periods the Toronto Thunder dominated an opening period that saw them bury three goals, Charlie Giffin, Massimo Principe and Jason Arruda opened a 3-0 lead. In the second period the North York Hitmen began chipping away. A power play marker from Tony Medeiros, Anthony Novia and the game tying goal from Lui Caruso sent the game to OT. In OT the crowd held their breath as the teams traded numerous scoring chances. Thunder sniper Massimo Principe breaks in late in the OT period and just misses ending the game. Up next was the shootout and the fans were treated to a 24 man penalty shootout. Every player on the Thunder bench had a chance to line up and give it their best shot, only one of the nine shooters found the back of the goal and it was Jason Arruda who scored to give his squad a short lived lead. After the first five Hitmen players missed Justin Rita was given the responsibility of keeping his club alive. Justin didn’t disappoint as he beat Dan Giffin and the marathon continued. The next ten shooters all were stopped. Paul Duarte with his second attempt at Hitmen goalie Dave Clark beats the netminder through the legs and the Thunder needed just one stop by Giffin to end game one. The Hitmen turned to Jonathon Pulicicchio to keep them alive, but Giffin would win this battle and the Thunder escape with a game one victory 3-2. February 10th the action will resume with game two of these epic battles. Come early the action starts at 7pm don’t be late.
QF Game 1 Top Performers
1. Paul Duarte (Thunder) - game winning shootout goal
2. Matt Tremblett (Hawks) - was a force all game
3. Brandon Ianuzzi (Express) - scores OT winner
QF Game 1Top Goaltenders
1. David DiGironimo (Express) - countless huge saves in OT win
2. Dave Clark (Hitmen) - stops 10 of 12 shooters in shootout
3. Dan Giffin (Thunder) - game saver late and all world performance in 12 man shootout win
Player Of the Week
The first recipient as player of the week in the post season is David DiGironimo of the Brampton Express. David was stellar stopping numerous great scoring chances as the Express held off the Hawks 3-2 in a thrilling OT win. Congratulations Dave and see Premier Commissioner for your Player of the Week award.