With just two weeks left the Premier seeding will come down to the bitter end. The Brampton Express have clinched the number one seed and the Toronto Thunder the number two seed that we know for sure. All but the Steelers and Polar Bears have clinched post season spots where they will seed is still anyone’s guess. The Bears continue to chase the final post season seed as the Steelers hold a two point advantage with two points left. The tie breaker would fall to the Bears (wins) if they can tie the Steelers in points over the final two weeks. Those two should have some pretty intense games down the wire. Four teams sit crammed like sardines in the middle of the pack Vaughan Red Wings, St. Michael’s, Metro Orangemen and Vaughan Jets have two point separating teams 3-6 that should be a sprint to the finish. The Hawks sit in third but that could easily change with four teams knocking at their door.
The Thornhill Steelers looking desperately to gain a crucial two points to put distance between themselves and the Bears for that final playoff spot had a date with the Toronto Thunder on Sunday. A short benched Steelers looked ripe for the pickings as they faced the Thunder and Premier scoring leader Massimo Principe. Paul Zarnett was a man on a mission in the Steelers goal as he stands on his head and makes many highlight reel saves to keep his club in the game. The Steelers would open a 1-0 lead on the power play but the Thunder would respond before the first period ends. Matt Hebbes shot hits a body in front and eludes Zarnett to square the game. The second period would settle nothing and to the shootout we would go. Thunder Captain Danny Filice would bury a quick shot as the fourth shooter to give the Thunder the 2-1 victory. The Steelers did get a point to open up a two point lead over the hard charging Bears.
Can the Vaughan Jets get hot at the right time? Well if they are now’s the time. A matchup with the Mississauga Hawks would be a tough test but the Jets are a veteran club that has dealt with adversity in the past. Looking to fall no further from the pack the Jets came out swinging on this night. Rookie Peter Kozovski with two goals and an assist help the Jets gain at least a point as the shootout would be needed to decide the second and important point. The shooters would not have their goal scoring sticks on this night as the only marker would come from Jet’s forward Mauro Mignosa as he gains his club the extra point. The Jets are muddled in the group of four between seed 3-6 and anything can happen in the final two weeks
With only three games left the Toronto Polar Bears need points and fast. With the Steelers gaining a critical point this week the pressure doubled on the Bears shoulders. Facing the defending National Champion Brampton Express in a must win is not the spot I’d want to be in. These Bears have been consistent in one thing all year they keep games close and this game was no different. The Bears through Andy Dungate would take a lead and a promising start to the game. Mike Porter would even the score and at a stalemate we would have for the next fifteen minutes with both teams trading chances. The Bears luck would run out as Mike Porter would score just 1:20 away from a shootout and giving the Bears a chance at two points. An empty netter would have the final score 3-1 Express and the entire rink could hear the sigh of relief from the Thornhill Steelers as they continue to hold on.
The best for last? With three points separating the Vaughan Red Wings and the Metro Orangemen this game had the hype of the game to watch on the night. Unfortunately the Vaughan Red Wings had other thoughts as they fire three goals in the first five minutes and five in the first period on route to a 6-3 romp of the young Orangemen. Goaltender Craig Flegel had a night he’d like to forget as six goals is the highest total the Orangemen have given up all season. This game was a far cry from the 1-0 victory the Orangemen escaped with in the first meeting between these two. With a chance to open up a five point lead on the VRW and secure that they could not get caught by their opponent went the other way and the VRW sit one point behind both the Orangemen and St. Mike’s. We are in for one crazy ride in the next two weeks. Discipline continues to hinder the young Wings as they lead the division with 340 penalty minutes.
Week 16 Top Goaltenders
1. Paul Zarnett (Steelers) - gains crucial point for club
2. Gary Doma (Jets) - keeps Jets in hunt
3. Gus Kalaitzis (Bears) - holds fort against Express
Week 16 Top Performers
1. Peter Kozovski (Jets) -three point game
2. Mike Porter (Express) - two goals
3. Steve Ceccanese (VRW) - two goal performance