It’s not often that I’m left without words. The final series is set to begin and we’re still all in awe in the six games that were the Premier semi-final round of 2013. Let’s all rest assured that regardless if these two series were best of 5’s, 10’ or 20’s I’m confident that they would have went the maximum number of games in each series, that’s how close each of these four teams were. After each game the buzz around the rink was how exciting and action packed the games were. I have to give credit to each and every player that participated in those six games each. Every one of you played your hearts out and left every ounce of energy on the floor. THAT is what Premier Ball Hockey is all about, the best teams in the province battling with every inch of their fibre to outlast their opponent. As I sit here, still with awe in what took place over the course of five days may never be repeated. Many fans, players and coaches approach me to talk shop and the one question that I was kept being asked was “Pete who do you think is going to win the series?” and I would honestly answer “I don’t have a clue, they could both go either way!”
(1) Brampton Express vs. (4) Belleville Bruins
Before this series started did anyone think that we would be in for such a treat? The Bruins would draw first blood as they win on home floor by the score of 6-2. Behind the goaltending of Kevin Bailie the Bruins were one game away from their first ever Premier Finals. Game two saw the Express hungry for revenge and a two goal first period from Mike Porter saw the Express up 5-1 at half. The Express would sit on the one goal lead as three goals from the Bruins saw the lead cut to 5-4. Super sniper Frankie Giustini would restore a two goal lead and it proved all so important as the Bruins would score once again to make the score 6-5. A frantic finish saw a ball squirt loose to the side of Dave DiGironimo ‘s goal but with a Bruins player down and with his back to what would have been a wide open net and possibly a tie game the chance was gone as quickly as it presented itself. The Express would tie the series and game three would be needed. Just twenty four hours later both teams were ready to get going once again. The Express would come out firing as Matt Martello, the league’s leading scorer, slides a rebound by Bailie to open the scoring. Adam Armstrong scores off a pretty three way passing play and the score was tied again. Two quick goals by the Express had them with a two goal lead just minutes into the second. Denver Greer would literally put his team on his back and two high light reel goals along with the teams trading another goal each and the game was tied at four. With just minutes left the buzz commenced that overtime would be needed. If there is one team that can score a big goal when needed it’s the Express and Shawn Hannon would score his second series clinching goal of the post season and the Express had taken a 5-4 lead. A penalty in the ensuing Express celebration assessed to the Bruins saw Belleville play the remainder of the game down a runner. A spirited last ninety seconds would not produce another goal and the Express had stamped their ticket to the Final round.
(2) Mississauga Hawks vs. (3) Metro Orangemen
After their QF victory series over the Thunder the Mississauga Hawks were on top of the world and the Ball Hockey world was taking notice that the Hawks were a team that could very easily make a push to the finals. Unfortunately standing in their way were the defending Fall Champions in the Metro Orangemen. A team that has matured and grown in leap and bounds over the last twelve months and were looking to become the first back to back Champions in three years. Game one was what many predicted this series would be tight checking low scoring games. With only three goals being scored and the game being tied on a Chris Creador point shot a PP late in the game gave the Hawks the break they longed for. A PP slap shot from just outside the blue line finds the back of the net, as Danny Conte scores the game winner and the Hawks were up one game in the best of three series. Game two saw a different flow, the Orangemen were convinced that they would not be eliminated on this night and opened what would be a 4-0 lead. The Hawks would score two late goals to pull the score to a 4-2 final but a game three would be needed in this series as well to determine who would advance and face the Express in the Finals. In a see saw game three battles the score would be tied after one period at 1-1. That’s when the flood goals opened and the teams combined for eight goals, with Gurjeet Gill scoring twice, Mike Kusy and matt Tremblett added singles for the Hawks. Paul Lima, Danny Pacheco and Ricky DaPonte with a pair had the score tied at five and we were off to the dreaded sudden death OT. The Hawks would carry a PP into OT as they were granted a five min PP in the dying minutes of the game which led to the tying goal and an opportunity to win series with the man advantage. The Orangemen defenders would stand tall and would allow only the one PP goal and we were back to even strength. The first good scoring chance the Orangemen got was a set up to the game winner. Brian Carvalho would streak down the wing and fire a bullet off the goal post to the left of Zarnett in the Hawks goal. Off the ensuing rebound a bounce to the stick of Jeff Gallant and the ball was just as quick behind Zarnett and a HERO had been spawned. Jeff Gallant with the biggest Premier goal of his young career had the Orangemen advancing and the Hawks stunned in disbelief.
Star of the Week
How does anyone select a star player or players of the SF series? With so many deserving recipients, EVERY PLAYER was a Star of the Series. With that being said here are a few of the many stars of the SF series. The Express were led by Dave DiGironimo, Shawn Hannon and Marc Paravanno. The Bruins, only one word can be used to describe the goaltending of Bailie, and that would be AWESOME, Denver and Even Greer have become household names and the Shaw brothers will be stars for years to come. The Orangemen and their veteran core of the Pacheco’s, DaPonte, Glenn Bradbury, Lima and Terry Roache seemed to be involved in every big play of the series. Gurjeet Gill was reborn and his stellar play in game three had the crowd buzzing, Matt Tremblett was a stud shift in shift out and the steady play of Dan Conte had the Hawks on the verge of reaching the next round.
The finals will commence on August the 7th at Downsview Arena at 9pm. if you happened to miss last week’s games you definitely won’t want to miss this round. Premier Finals 2013, Brampton Express vs. Metro Orangemen.