Premier Week Eight - If we’ve learned anything this year it’s that no game is a gimmie. No one rolls over in this division and taking a night off will prove more costly that you can believe. Slipping just one seed in the standings may mean your playoff spot. Travelling out of town has been a challenge and the Bruins, Wildcats and Generals are taking full advantage of their home games and all three are on the cusp of securing playoff seeds and may just to that by the end of next week. As we head in to the last three weeks of the season four teams are battling to secure a playoff seed as one point separates the Wildcats, Thunder, Wings and Hitmen. Here’s a quick recap of the week’s action.
The Metro Orangemen made the trek to Belleville and came away with a hard fought 3-2 victory on the road. Ricardo Pires had two goals and both were set up by Danny Pacheco and Glen Bradbury. These two teams will face each other on Wednesday in Toronto in a rematch.
The Niagara Generals would take care of business on home floor as the Toronto Thunder came calling. Niagara would outshoot the Thunder 35-17 and outscore them 7-3. Tyler Rabishaw would bulge the twine twice and add an assist. Graham Campbell would also chip in with a goal and two assists.
Matt Martello supplied enough offence as the Brampton Express travelled to Barrie and came away with an 8-4 victory over the Wild. Matt’s five point game and Shawn Hannon with four were too much for the home team. The Express are in a dead heat with the Hawks for top spot in the division.
St. Thomas Wildcats played their usual double header night when they travelled to Mississauga to face both the Belleville Bruins and the Vaughan Red Wings. Richard Hepworth with four points helps the Wildcats to a 6-4 victory over the Bruins. In the second game of the night VRW come away with a 7-4 win as youngster Kyle Charlton fires two goals and adds three assists.
The battle for first place went to the Brampton Express as they beat the Hawks in Mississauga by the score of 6-2. Another five point game by Premier scoring leader Matt Martello evens the season series between the two at a game apiece. It will now be a sprint to the finish for these two to see who finishes first.
In arguably the best game played by the North York Hitmen all year, a must game as they battle for their playoff lives versus the Metro Orangemen. An exciting game needed a shootout to decide a winner as the teams were deadlocked at two after regulation. A Nelson Pacheco goal gave the Orangemen a 3-2 win but the Hitmen gained a crucial point.
Battling for the final playoff spot the Toronto Thunder and the North York Hitmen met on Wednesday night in what may be the biggest game of the year for both teams. Both benches were full and the game had a playoff atmosphere. Regulation solved nothing as the teams tied 1-1. After a 32 man shootout Victor Azevedo shooting for the second time pots the game winner. Final 2-1 Hitmen.
In a rematch from Saturday the Belleville Bruins travelled to Downsview to face the Metro Orangemen. The venue may have change but the result was the same a 3-1 victory for the Orangemen who won their third game in row and may still challenge for the division crown. Ricardo Pires with his second game winner in a week versus the Bruins in two games.
The Toronto Polar Bears are commencing their late season streak. Winners of two straight they still are not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. A 9-7 victory over the Barrie Wild saw the line of Monaghan, Wilson and Monaghan combine for a total of twenty points. The Bears will face a do or die game versus the Hitmen on Monday in a chase for the last playoff spot.
Player of the Week
Amassing ten points in two games the player of the week is Matt Martello of the Brampton Express. Congratulations Matt.
Premier Week Seven - With many of the Premier players participating at the recently concluded World Championships the Premier Division returned to action with only five games on the scheduled being played. As we head into the back half of the Premier schedule every game is crucial as teams jokey for post season positioning. Here is a quick recap of the week’s action:
The North York Hitmen who are fighting for a playoff seed travelled north to faceoff versus the Barrie Wild. A Tony Ricci hat trick was the margin of difference in the game as the Hitmen come away with a 4-2 victory on the road. In a group with the Thunder, Wings and Wildcats each point the Hitmen can gain is vital to their playoff hopes.
With many players resting after a gruelling week of Ball Hockey the first game back for both the Toronto Thunder and Toronto Polar Bears saw both teams dress only ten runners each. Justin Monaghan and Charlie Giffin each had four point games but it was the Polar Bears with their first win of the season a 7-5 decision over the Thunder, who now find themselves at 500% with a 4-4 record.
Belleville Bruins continues to be the feel good story of the season a surprise front runner to the Premier division they continued to roll this time with a 6-4 victory over a visibly tired Brampton Express squad. Jason Shaw with a huge two goal and two assist effort was the offensive star on this night. The Express lost their first game in regulation this season.
The Niagara Generals may be the hottest team in the league these days. Riding a four game winning streak the Generals are making strides up the Premier standings and have all but secured them a post season berth. Six different scores light the lamp against the Metro Orangemen as Graham Campbell ends the game with three points. Make the final score from Burlington, Generals 6 Orangemen 1.
In the late game of the night the Vaughan Red Wings faced the Mississauga Hawks who at press time were the Premier division leaders. In a game where both teams wanted to flex their muscles and prove to each other and the league they are contenders. In the end the Hawks were too much for the young Wings as JK Gill has another monster night with two goals and two assists in a 6-3 win. JK Gill has accumulated eleven points in two games versus VRW this session.
Player of the Week
Tony Ricci of the North York Hitmen who scored the hat trick in a 4-2 victory over the Wild in Barrie is the player of the week. Congratulations Tony.