Pylons! The farthest from the truth for this group of youngsters who defied the odds and have become Tier 2 Fall Downsview Park Champions. A nickname that leaves them open for ridicule and laughter the Vaughan Pylons have had the last laugh. Defying the odds you ask? With a roster of only 17 registered players two of which are goaltenders, one player who played only one game and another away at school for the majority of the season the Pylons relied heavily on 13 runners. For many teams that would surely bury their chance’s, not this group who had the two leading sniper’s in the division with Matt Martello and Frankie Giustini the dynamic duo leading the way with a combined 66 points in 14 games.
In a mostly successful regular season the Pylons finished with a 9-4-1 record good for third place only one win away from the division leaders Titans and Hitmen. The only team in the division without a clear number one goaltender, both goalies played seven games in the regular season and shared the duties in the post season they were both stellar when their number was called. Leading the division in goals for the question was never could they score goals rather could they defend enough to win three rounds of playoff hockey.
Finishing third drew the Pylons the Red Wings in the first round. A battle of ex teammates as Giustini and Martello unable to win the big prize as members of the Wings the last two DP seasons now looked to upend the Wings and advance. In game one of the QF series the game was dominated by the Wings and they would open a 4-1 lead after the first. With the dynamic duo no lead is safe and a Matt Martello goal with eleven seconds left would salvage the Pylons a tie 4-4. Game two was the Frankie Giustini show as he fired four goals and the Pylons would survive a late game surge to win the game 6-5 and eliminate their ex mates. Off to the next round.
The number two ranked North York Hitmen would be up next. The highest scoring offence versus the Hitmen’s’ team defence which allowed the least goals in the playoffs. Game one of the semi finals started the same way the previous series started with the Pylons finding themselves behind 3-1 early in the second frame. Just as in the previous round the Pylons would battle back with Gabe Tacconelli scoring to level the game at 3-3. Overtime would be dominated by the Pylons but a shootout would be needed to decide a game one winner. The unsung hero on this night would be Dan Vommaro who scores the only extra shot to give the Pylons game one. Game two would see the Pylons forced to leave their traditional black jersey’s in the room and they would come out in a baby blue set of uniform’s, this to combat the Hitmen forcing them to wear pinnies by deciding to wear black themselves. The old saying goes never wake a sleeping giant and after a quiet game in the opener of the series Giustini takes only three minutes to give the Pylons a lead. The lead would be doubled on the PP as Gabe Tacconelli scores for a 2-0 Pylons lead. The Hitmen would pull one back with 22 seconds left but in a case of a too little to late an empty netter makes the final 3-1 Pylons.
Awaiting them in the finals would be the number one ranked Toronto Titans who many felt were the cream of the crop. Game one would see the Titans come out on a mission and pin the Pylons back for the opening eight minutes. The score would go to half tied at two. That’s the closest the Titans would get to winning this game as they are outscored 3-0 in the second and the Pylons take game one 5-2. Both Martello and Giustini score a pair each as they are two much for the Titans to handle. In game two the Titans had their backs against the wall. Giustini would score early and the Titans were in a hole. Stojsin would tie the game late in the first. An unlikely scorer defencemen Andrew Buccitti would fire the go ahead marker and the Pylons were ahead once again. Vic Goncalves on the PP would send the game to OT. With 1:07 left in the first OT Jason Arruda would score the game winner and the series was going to a final and deciding game three. Once again as in game two Frankie Giustini would open the scoring giving his club a 1-0 lead. Late in the first Scott Roberts would even the score on a mad scramble in front of the Pylons net. Both teams would go scoreless and in the second and OT would be needed once again. The Pylons on a PP that carried over into OT took all of thirty seconds to end the game as Giustini fires in the winner. Game, series and season over. For his inspired play and dominate ball control Matt Martello was named playoff MVP.
Congratulations to Justin Rita the Pylons GM and the entire Pylons Ball Hockey club who will represent Ontario at the 2012 Eastern ‘B’ Regional Championship’s that will take place in Ontario in the Pylons home town.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the teams that participated in the 2011 Fall season for an exciting season of Tier 2 hockey. A special thanks to all the staff and league officials on and off the floor that made the season a success.
Tier 2 Convener