Heading in to the final stretch run before the post season begins the games have taken on a playoff atmosphere. The July 1st long weekend limited the games to four this week as the teams rested and prepared for what will be a gruelling three weeks to be crowned Premier Champions for 2013. The biggest surprise of the year has to be that the Toronto Thunder perennial Championship contenders are in a battle for a post season berth and it’s looking more and more that it will all be on the line this week in a big game Wednesday night versus the VRW. The big three of Hawks, Express and Orangemen have secured the top three spots and will wait to see how the bottom three finish to determine who they face in the round of Elite 8. Finally showing the promise and level of excellence they have displayed over the last four Premier seasons the Vaughan Red Wings are serving notice that they are gearing up for a long playoff run. The last seven games of the season will have all “Standing Watching” as every result will cause opponents in the post season to flip and flop. Here’s a quick recap on the games from Week 10.
With a top three spot all wrapped up the Mississauga Hawks fielded only ten runners versus the hottest team in the Premier Division since the break the North York Hitmen. Only the stellar goaltending of Paul Zarnett kept this game from being a blowout. A Mike Kusy breakaway goal gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead. The Hitmen would continue to work and would draw level and eventually on a power play on a goal from Alberto Cucchiara would take the lead. The game would end 2-1 Hitmen. In a moment of sportsmanship and class from the Hitmen, with only eight seconds left and the Hawks goalie pulled a Hitmen player had an empty net to increase the score to 3-1. Instead of firing a slap shot into an open net he flipped the ball in to the corner. Kudos to the Hitmen player for showing sportsmanship and respect to his opponent.
Still trying to secure a playoff seed the Vaughan Red Wings have started to play the upbeat tempo of ball hockey we are used to seeing this group play. In what could become a QF matchup the Metro Orangemen faced off versus the VRW in a late season grudge match. The VRW would continue their fine play and would open up a 3-1 lead and carry it late into the game. A late 5 on 3 power play would enable the Orangemen to draw level as Glenn Bradbury Jr. and Danny Pacheco would both score with the man advantage. Chris Creador would draw assists on both goals. Regulation would solve nothing and the shootout would go to six shooters. Chris Creador putting his mark on this game scores the winner and the Orangemen are able to escape with maximum points.
Will the Toronto Thunder pull it together in the final three games of the season and sneak into the playoff rounds? In a rematch of the 2011 finals the Thunder and Brampton Express renewed hostilities. Could the Thunder secure two points to help in their quest for a playoff spot? The game would start off with a Charlie Giffin goal and the Thunder was rolling. An undisciplined penalty gave the Express a four minute PP and they capitalized tying the score at ones. A four goal explosion by the Express gave them an insurmountable lead and they would coast to a 6-2 victory. Youngster Jacob Robitallie would contribute with a pair of goals and the Express will now wait to see who they draw in the QF round.
A special Friday night affair had the North York Hitmen travel west and face the St. Thomas Wildcats. The Hitmen would score five times before the halftime whistle enroute to a 6-1 drubbing of the Cats. Richard Campos would lead the way with two goals and two assists.
Player of the Week
Helping his team gain the victory and a top three playoff seed Chris Creador of the Metro Orangemen and his shootout winner along with two assists is the Player of the Week. Congratulations Chris.