Two games down for each of the eight Premier Quarter Finalists and we still have six teams kicking. Two series have ended with both the Metro Orangemen and the Brampton Express punching their tickets to the Final Four. These two will now wait for their opponents to be decided. A final and deciding game three will be needed in the Thunder vs. Hawks series and the Generals vs. Bruins. They will battle in a do or die game three. Here’s what happened in the edge of your seat game two’s of each series.
(1) Brampton Express vs.(8) Vaughan Red Wings
The Wings knew coming into this game that anything less than one hundred percent would just not suffice, and with a little luck they would push this series to a third and deciding game. The Wings would come out flying and would open the scoring as Rob Shilton fires a high shot of the post and in and the Wings had momentum. Veteran Mike Porter would respond and the Express had drawn even. Adrian Perpetua would restore a one goal lead for the Wings as we headed towards half. Just before the break a Fred Perriera PP point shot would find its way through a maze and we were deadlocked after twenty minutes of play. The Wings would lose one of their star players as Sam Renda was ejected from the game just two minutes from half.
Playing for their playoff lives the Wings dominated play and hit four posts and had a goal called back on a delayed penalty the effort was their but would the luck kick in? Midway through the second the Wings would pull ahead once again their third lead of the game as Anthony Novielli buries a tip in for a 3-2 lead. Express goaltender Dave DiGironimo with several outstanding saves kept his team within one. The turning point in the series was about to unravel as a five minute major to Perpetua would see the Express with a PP and only four plus minutes left on the clock. With the snipers the Express house the entire Red Wings bench were holding their breath. The first dagger was a Frankie Giustini PP goal and the game was tied. A bounce off the back boards to a wide open Shawn Hannon and the Express had taken their first lead of the game. With only two minutes left and the Wings still down a man the Express only had to hold on for a hundred and twenty seconds. The Wings would pull Ferrante to even the runners on the floor but with the clock running down the Wings were unable to level the score and the Express would advance to the Semi Final round.
(2) Mississauga Hawks vs. (7)
Toronto Thunder After winning game one of the series the Thunder were hit with two devastating injuries. Starting Goaltender Dan Giffin went down with and upper body injury and All-Star defenceman and spiritual leader Kal Kakish goes down with a lower body injury and the Thunder had to deal with the loss of two key members. To ease the blow superstar forward Marco Goncalves would make his series debut. The Hawks would be without JK Gill and his speed but still had plenty of gas in the tank as they score in the first two minutes as Frankie D’Ambrosio spins and fires a shot past Pellicori for a quick one goal lead.
The offensive didn’t stop there as Allen Penney scores two first period goals and Amir Talati adds his first of the series and the Hawks had built a 4-0 lead. The Thunder would show a sign of life as they score two goals in a minute to cut the lead in half at 4-2. Danny Filice on the PP and Charlie Giffin with his second goal of the series gave the Thunder momentum going into the second. A pair of second period goals from the Hawks as Amir Talati and Mike Kusy put the game out of reach. Marco Goncalves adds his name to the game sheet and Joe Barbas of the Hawks adds an empty netter to make the final 7-3. With both teams taking a game so far in the series a third and final game will need to be played and you won’t want to miss it. It promises to be a classic between two old rivals.
(3) Metro Orangemen vs. (6) North York Hitmen
Ricardo Pires and his game one winner still fresh in the minds of the Hitmen as they entered game two had the youngsters ready to stave off elimination. A tight hard fought first period saw both teams battle through the neutral zone to try and gain a scoring chance but both defence groups were not giving up an inch. A very physical first period saw the Orangemen open the scoring as Jeff Gallant with a low hard shot finds its way past Clark and into the back of the Hitmen’s goal and the Orangemen were up a goal. We would hit the half and the Orangemen held a 1-0 lead.
The Hitmen needed a goal and every rush was turned away by Orangemen goaltender Raza Zaidi or blocked by Orangemen runners who all were sacrificing their bodies to take one for the team. Riding the wave of his game one winner Ricardo Pires would light the lamp once again as he gives his club their first two goal lead of the series. Coach Angelo Gaetano kept throwing different line combos over the boards in hopes of finding a way back into the game. Their best chance to score came from an Anthony Novia break that was turned away by Zaidi. Nelson Pacheco the youngest of the Pacheco trio would score his second goal of the period and a 3-0 lead had been built. The Hitmen could not hit the score sheet and the game would end as is at 3-0. The Orangemen looking to win consecutive back to back sessions took one step closer to that goal as they advance to the SF round sweeping away the Hitmen two games to none.
(4) Bellville Bruins vs. (5) Niagara Generals
Home floor advantage, would it play in favour of the Bruins as it did for the Generals in game one? The Generals would make the drive to Oshawa in hopes of ending the series in two games. The Bruins would have other ideas as they would not go down without a fight. The Bruins using their home floor and crowd to their advantage would open up a 3-1 first period lead. Evan Greer, Tyler Soule and Jeff Brokema would open a three goal bulge. Tyler Schram of the Generals would score before half would cut the lead to 3-1. A home floor 3-1 lead would seem safe enough but the Generals have a crew of scorers that can strike in the blink of an eye.
Tyler Melancor would increase the lead to 4-1 but that’s where the fun stopped for the Bruins. Four straight goals from the Generals by Justin Dykstra, Tyler McFadden and a pair from Ian Downes had the Generals with a road lead and only four minutes away from the semi final round. Captain of the Bruins Shane Terry would not be ousted on this night and his booming shot beats Alex Liakopoulos in the Generals goal and we are tied at fives and heading for OT. The OT would last just three minutes as the man who opened the scoring Evan Greer would end the game as he beats Liakoupolous and send’s the Bruins bench into a joyous celebration as they realize they have forced a third and deciding game. This is another series of two evenly matched teams and this game three will be a game everyone will want to see.
I urge every ball hockey fan out there if you have ever watched an elimination game played and the excitement it generates, times it by ten and that’s what you are in for with these two game three’s. They will be furious, fast paced, physical battles where only two of these four teams will advance to face the Express or the Orangemen. Will you dare miss these games?
All the actions starts at 8pm next Wednesday at the beautiful and historic Downsview Arena where many ball hockey memories live.