The Premier QF round ended on Sunday night as both the Brampton Express and the Toronto Thunder advanced with convincing victories over their opponents. The top two seeds Metro Orangemen and Vaughan Red wings will join them in the round of four. The top ranked Metro Orangemen will face their toughest test of the year as they prepare to face the defending DP Premier Champions the Brampton Express. The Thunder and VRW will renew their rivalry in what will prove to be a tough hard fought contested series.
After a heartbreaking loss in overtime to the Brampton Express the Mississauga Hawks had their backs against the wall and knew that it was all on the line in game two. The Hawks quick strike offence opened the scoring as Allen Penney fires a high shot that beats David DiGironimo in the Express goal. With three minutes left in the first the Hawks had a 3-1 lead and looked to have the game in control but Express responded with two goals in three minutes and the game was suddenly tied. The two teams would trade numerous chances in the second period and a controversial goal by Shawn Hannon gave the Express the lead that they would not give back. The final score of 6-3 would advance the Express through to the semi final round and a date with the Metro Orangemen.
Regaining the confidence midway through the season has given the Toronto Thunder a renewed energy that they have taken into the post season. Winning the marathon twenty four man shootout in game one had the Thunder one game away from advancement. Looking for a spark the North York Hitmen turned to Anthony Flores to hopefully gain a game two victory. Massimo Principe had other ideas, playing like a man on a mission Principe would earn a goal and an assist in the first three minutes of the game and the Thunder suddenly had enough goals to win the game only two minutes in. With a final score of 5-1 the Thunder, behind goals from Duarte, Principe, Huffman and a pair from Goncalves, advance to the round of four to face arch rivals Vaughan Red Wings.
QF Game 2 Top Performers
1. Massimo Principe (Thunder) - leads team to victory
2. Shawn Hannon (Express) - series clinching goal
3. Marco Goncalves (Thunder) - two goals
QF Game 2 Top Goaltenders
1. Dan Giffin (Thunder) - plays big in big games
2. Dave DiGironimo (Express) - holds team in after falling behind
Player of the Night QF Game 2
In a stellar performance leading his team past the North York Hitmen the Player of Night is Massimo Principe of the Toronto Thunder. Congratulations Massimo and see the Premier Commissioner for your Player of the Night Award.
Its nights like this that re-affirms why we all return to the rink night after night. The best way to describe both these games that took place on this the opening night of the semi final series is “AWESOME”. There is no doubt, don’t be fooled by cheap imitations, the Top level of ball hockey is HERE in the Premier Ball Hockey League. If you missed these two games, you missed four of the best teams competing at the highest level, leaving everything they have on the floor.
The Metro Orangemen coming off a two week bye needed to find their legs quickly as the prepared to face the Brampton Express. Having just eliminated the Hawks the Express took that momentum into the game one versus the Orangemen. A pair of goals from Mike Porter and a PP marker from Chris Morrison Jr. had the Express out in front 3-1 after one period. The Orangemen would then start their comeback and would score four unanswered goals the winner coming from leading scorer and Premier All Star Ricardo Pires. Glen Bradbury would add the insurance marker and the Orangemen climbed all the way back to take a 1-0 series lead over the Express. Absent from the Brampton lineup were snipers Tony Montiero and Frankie Giustini who should make their return on Sunday in game two, hoping to push the series to its limit. The Orangemen will look to close out the series in a two game sweep.
Momentums you can’t overlook the importance of entering a series or even a game with it on your side. Gaining the bye maybe wasn’t the best case scenario for the Vaughan Red Wings. Although they were able to take a 1-0 lead to halftime the sharpness and more importantly the pace that the VRW dictate with their speed was lacking. The Toronto Thunder snipers woke up in the second period and the flood gates opened, where the Thunder would score five times, highlighted by a Massimo Principe breakaway goal which at the time put the Thunder up 2-1. The VRW would get a late marker but it was too little too late as the final reads 5-2. Thunder defencemen Kal Kakish seemed to play nearly the whole second period and was instrumental in killing off a late five on three PP for the VRW with the score 4-2 and the game still in reach. Riding the wave of emotion and the hot scoring streaks of their forwards the Thunder are only one game from reaching their sixth consecutive DP final.
SF Game 1 Top Performers
1. Ricardo Pires (Orangemen) - game winner
2. Marco Goncalves (Thunder) - constant force all night
3. Mike Porter (Express) - a pair of goals had Express up early
SF Game 1 Top Goaltenders
1. Dan Giffin (Thunder) - playing better and better
2. Craig Flegal (Orangemen) - shaky start, solid finish
SF Game 1 Player of the Night
In a come from behind victory leading his team with a pair of goals including the game winner was Ricardo Pires of the Metro Orangemen. Congratulations Ricardo and see the Premier Commissioner for your Player of the Night Award.