It took five long months but here we are. Express vs. Bears, Thunder vs. Jets, Hawks vs. VRW and St. Mike’s vs. Orangemen. There are the results of each team battling through sixteen tough weeks of Premier Ball Hockey. Unfortunately for the Thornhill Steelers after clinging to the eighth and final playoff seed for most of the year a late season surge from the Polar Bears allowed them to sneak into the final seed, in essence eliminating the Steelers on the final night of the regular season. The Thunder had the final week off as they rest and mend for their playoff drive. We had our ups and downs but overall the regular season went off without a hitch. Here’s how the final week shook down.
In what turned out to be a preview of a QF matchup we wouldn’t know this until late Monday the veteran Mississauga Hawks would face the young Vaughan Red Wings in their final regular season game. In what looked to be a tight affair was blown open late in the first. With three minutes left in the opening frame the Wings were assessed a minor penalty. No problem you would think, but refusing to proceed quietly to the penalty box cost the Wings another minor penalty and a four minute PP for the Hawks would produce two goals and a 2-0 lead. Matt Tremblett the big off season pick up of the Hawks played arguably his best game of the season leading is club to a convincing 5-0 victory over the Wings. Frank D’Ambrosio keeps up his hot streak as he fires two more goals on this night. The Hawks with the victory would secure the number three seed and eventually a date with the Vaughan Red Wings in the round of eight. Penalty trouble saw the Wings play shorthanded for most of the game, if any sort of success is expected in the post season the VRW must stay out of the penalty box.
The seventh seed had the Vaughan Jets penciled in as of the week before no movement either way for the Jets was possible. St. Michael’s sitting in sixth coming into the game could leapfrog both the Orangemen and the Wings with a win and help and gain home floor advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Well St.Mike’s certainly did help themselves as the defeated the Jets 6-2. After falling behind 2-0 they would score six straight to end the season in the fourth seed and a date with the feisty young Orangemen. The Jets will face the Toronto Thunder in the QF round. Sandro Mignosa returned to the Jets lineup, scored and will be a welcomed face come playoff time. The burning question is will head coach Gerry Panza start Dwayne Pallotta who was so close to eliminating the Thunder in the summer QF round or will veteran Gary Doma get the nod.
It took them all sixteen weeks to accomplish their goal but the final result was well worth the wait. Barley clinging to hope and life week after week the Toronto Polar Bears failed to roll over and give up. With a must win game the Bears dressed the most players they have all year and it paid off. The return of Chris Monaghan who has been battling broken ribs for weeks returned and extended the Bears season as they would beat the Metro Orangemen 5-0 in a one sided affair. Sniper Jeff Wilson’s first period goal would be the game winner as the Orangemen fail to beat Kalaitzis in the Bears goal. For all their efforts the Bears prize is a date with division winners the Brampton Express. Splitting the season series the Bears winning in a shootout, have played the Express tight and a last minute goal and an empty netter resulted in a 3-1 Express win the last time these two met. If the regular season games mean anything this series will be a tight low scoring matchup.
Facing the defending National Championship in a do or die game is not the ideal situation for any club to find themselves in. For the Thornhill Steelers that’s exactly where they found themselves. A final score line of 7-2 would eliminate the Steelers as the Bears stood and counted down the minutes. Super scorer Frankie Giustini finds enough points to finish in a dead heat for the scoring lead with Massimo Principe of the Toronto Thunder. The Express now face the Polar Bears and the Steelers begin to regroup for the next season.
Week 18 Top Goaltenders
1. Gus Kalaitzis (Bears) - gets team into post season
2. Ralph Pellicori (Hawks) - shuts out the VRW
3. Anthony Flores (St.Mike’s) - big win gets club number four seed
Week 18 Top Performers
1. Matt Tremblett (Hawks) - best game to date
2. Frankie Giustini (Express) - ties for scoring Championship
3. Chris Monaghan (Bears) - his presence alone lifts teams spirits