In the fall of 2013 the Falcons who made the jump to Tier 2 took only two sessions to accomplish what many try a lifetime to attain. In just eight short months the Falcons in their second kick at the can have become Downsview Park Tier 2 Winter Champions. After an inaugural session where the Falcons won the regular season finishing first, the post season was a different story as they were swept by the eventual Fall Champions the Toronto Titans. Coach and General Manager Vito Lagani tweaked his lineup adding secondary scoring, strengthened his back line and went to a rotating goaltending scenario that paid huge dividends. Having two fresh and ready goaltenders was pivotal down the stretch and in the playoffs.
In the quarter finals the Falcons faced the Fall Finalists the Toronto Hitmen. The Falcons squeaked out a 3-2 win in the opener as the Hitmen showed they wouldn’t just roll over and go away. Game two was a tale of twenty six minutes and then the last four minutes. The Hitmen opened the scoring in the first minute of the game and nursed and with four minutes left the Falcons equalized. Just a minute later the Falcons would strike again and in the span of sixty seconds the game went from 1-0 Hitmen to 2-1 Falcons. The Falcons would hold off a frantic last minute attack from the Hitmen and had won their first Tier 2 playoff series.
In the semi-finals the rejuvenated North York Nordiques were waiting to face the Falcons, the Nords had eliminated the Leafs Reloaded to advance to the final four. In game one John DiNardo stole the show and the game with the Nordiques winning 2-0.With their backs squarely against the wall the Falcons came out in game two and dominated from start to finish and evened the best of three series at a game apiece with a stellar 3-0 victory. Game three was a thriller and after thirty minutes a winner still needed to be decided as an Anthony Miller goal five minutes from time knotted the score 2-2 and sent the game to extra time. The crowd had barley settled in when Andrew Sisi ended the game and series 1:18 into the extra frame. His shot from the left hash boards was slowed down as Kal Kakish got his stick on Sisi’s stick just enough to take all the momentum off Sisi’s shot. The shot caught DiNardo off guard and found the perfect angle as the ball rolled just pass DiNardo’s pad and just inside the far post to end OT just as quickly as it had begun.
With the Falcons just two wins away from their first Championship waited for their opponent as game three saw the TBB and North Stars battling to decide who would make it to the final stage of this marathon. The TBB would outlast the Stars and the final would be set TBB vs. Falcons for all the marbles. The Falcons and Bastone would prove to be an epic battle. Game one was a deadlock draw at 2-2.With just 10.9 seconds left and an offensive zone draw the Falcons were at very worst heading for overtime. Well it didn’t go as planned and Dorvin Jordan of the TBB would find himself on a breakaway as the clock ticked down. Not knowing what to watch the clock or the player I watched the clock and the screams of joyful bliss erupted as the clock read 0.9 seconds left on the official game clock. The Bastone had stolen game one 3-2. Once again the Falcons found themselves down a game and their season hinged on a do or die game two. The Bastone were poised to win their second Downsview Park Tier 2 Championship as they carried a 1-0 lead deep into the third. The Falcons would draw even as Rob Angiollela making his playoff debut levels the score and sends the game to overtime. The teams would trade chances in the extra frame but once again Rob Angiollela would be the catalyst. He sends a pass over to a streaking Dino Brancatella, who doesn’t get a lot of wood on the shot, but the muffed shot handcuffs Pellicori and the ball finds a hole through the goaltenders legs for the winning marker. After nearly one hundred games between the regular season and playoffs between eleven teams over the course of four months it would all come down to thirty minutes to decide a Champion. The Falcons after seven nail-biting games in the post season games knew they needed a fast start and could not afford to fall behind. It took just thirty two seconds to strike and the Falcons were ahead. Frank Costa from the Bastone drew his team level and the game was 1-1 at half. The definitive blow would come just two minutes into the second as Rob Angiollela would play a major part once again. The Falcons would strike twice in the first ninety seconds of the second and would add an insurance marker for good measure. Angiollela would score two goals on the night as the Falcons ended the season and series with a 4-1 victory. Mission accomplished.
With all the Falcons contributing to the success the playoff MVP was awarded to Chris Cusimano. The Falcons goaltender posted a 5-0 record in the post season, winning two overtime games and all five games when the Falcons were facing elimination. A remarkable feat to say the least. I would like to congratulate Coach and General Manager Vito Lagani and the entire Falcons organization on becoming Downsview Park Winter Tier 2 Champions. Along the prestige and bragging rights the Falcons will also participate in the upcoming OBHA Winter Provincials, the National Ball Hockey Associations Tier 2 National Championships in Moncton and will be the Tier 2 club team participating in the annual Downsview Park All Star game in 2015.
Every season we grow and this session by far was the most competitive and exciting season to date. I would like to thank all eleven teams that participated in the winter season and look forward to next Fall where we start all over again from the famed Downsview Park Hangar arena. Our summer season is set to commence and I look forward to seeing all of you there.
Tier 2 Commissioner