The magnitude of these two game three’s could not be measured. Two of these teams would be flying high and two would have their season end after forty minutes of the most intense games of their careers. The Thunder and Generals after taking one game leads in their series were looking for game three bounce back games as they both fell in game two of the series. The Hawks and Bruins on the other hand had gained momentum and confidence with game two wins. So how would the cards fall in these two do or die games here’s a quick rundown on how the games unfolded.
(4) Belleville Bruins vs. (5) Niagara Generals
Both teams made the trip to Toronto to face off in this elimination game with full benches and a ton of energy. The Generals behind the momentum of two early power plays would open the scoring as Graham Campbell would lift the ball over a sprawled Kevin Bailie to put the Generals in flight. The Bruins off the ensuing faceoff would level the score as Nate Goddard beats Bram Leggat and the Generals lead lasted only nine seconds. The Bruins, in a span of three minutes, would fire two goals as Tyler Soule and Pat Geen score to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead. The tide had suddenly turned and it was the Generals who were now behind. Tyler Schram would pull one back before half and the score would head into half at 3-2 Bruins.
The quick strike offence of the Bruins rose to the occasion once again and goals only fourteen seconds apart from Denver Greer and Goddard’s second goal of the game bulged the Bruins lead to a 5-2 score line. The Generals would begin to feel each click of the clock begin to dwindle. A furious final ten minutes saw Bruins goaltender Baillie makes numerous huge saves to keep his club up three. Just five minutes from time Jeff Brokema fires the final dagger and the Bruins eliminate the Generals 6-2. The boys from Belleville would now sit and watch the next game to see who they would face in the final four.
(2) Mississauga Hawks vs. (7) Toronto Thunder
Game one and two were basically the same game with each team dominating the other and coming away with a victory each. Who would the Ball Hockey Gods shine on in this winner take all game three? The Hawks have not won a playoff series for years, or the Thunder who were the Fall runners up and seem to do whatever it takes to win. The Thunder would strike first as ex Hawk Captain Charlie Giffin fires a shot that beats Paul Zarnett and the Thunder had the important first goal of the game. The Hawks bench was stunned and the Hawks had given up the first goal in the series for the first time. Veteran Hawks forward Adrian Goodard who may be the longest serving member of the club, known best for his penalty killing shot blocking ability jammed a shot between Ralph Pellicori and his post, the game was tied at ones. A laser off the stick of Cory Wickett gave the Hawks a 2-1 half time lead and we would be in for twenty minutes of intense ball hockey.
Massimo Principe, Paul Duarte and the rest of the Thunder forwards would begin to pepper Zarnett in the Hawk’s goal throwing every ball they could at the net hoping for a deflection or lucky bounce to tie the game. Just three minutes into the second JK Gill would beat Pellicori low to the blocker side and the Hawks had a two goal lead. The stingy defence of the Hawks led by Dan Conte and Gurgeet Gill held the Thunders snipers at bay. Allen Penney with his fourth goal of the post season makes the score 4-1. The Thunder could not beat Zarnett for the remaining minutes of the game and the Hawks would come away with their first series win in two years. With the victory the Hawks gain a date with the well-rested Metro Orangemen and the Brampton Express will face the Bruins in two mega series that will begin next week.
Game 3 Stars
For the first time in history the stars of each game three share the same last name. Adrian Goddard of the Mississauga Hawks with a goal and an assist and Nate Goddard of the Belleville Bruins and his two goals earn each player a Star of the Game recognition. Congratulations.