The semi finals will be worth watching as all four teams have the ability to reach the Championship round. The defending Premier and National Champions the Brampton Midnight Express have proven year after year that are the team to beat .The Toronto Thunder winners of three of the last four Downsview Park seasons will be anxious to recapture the Fall Championship after the NY Leafs won the 2011 season. Many will be anticipating that these two meet in the final after the epic three game series we were treated to in the final of the Premier 2011 summer season. Who could forget what transpired in that series. The Vaughan Red Wings made arguably the biggest splash in the QF round ousting the Mississauga Hawks giving up only one goal in the two game series. Teams that get hot and ride a hot streak make the toughest opponent to face. For anyone that watched the series will attest that the Hawks very rarely tested the VRW goaltenders and many of the shots they did get were from the outside and didn’t pose much of a threat. St. Michael’s is sitting right where they want under the radar. After a two game shutout sweep of the Orangemen St.Mike’s have to be feeling pretty good about their play and their chances of advancing through another round. Another team peaking at the right time they will make for a tough opponent.
#1 Brampton Express vs. #6 Vaughan Red Wings
The newcomers are the talk of the post season after dispatching the Mississauga Hawks. In the two meetings these two split the series. VRW winning a shootout in the first all time meeting between the clubs and the Express drawing a measure of revenge with a 5-2 victory in the second meeting. The difference in this series is can the Red Wing’s defence shut down the Express offence the same way it did to the Hawks. Brampton with Giustini, Porter, Montiero, Morrison and Tabas can fill the back of the net quickly. The Wings will rely on the duo of Renda and Metallo to gain them the advantage offensively. This will certainly be a test for the young Wings in their first Premier season. Once again the VRW have to stay out of penalty trouble, after leading the league in the regular season, coach Panza has the boys focused on winning and not taking penalties. Both teams possess speed and the games should be a back and forth see saw battle. As in any game goaltending is huge and David DiGironimo has back stopped the Express to numerous Championships so he knows what it takes to win. Anthony Ferrante must stay focussed after receiving a one game ban in the QF round if the Wings are to upset the Express. Another series that can go either way.
#2 Toronto Thunder vs. #4 St.Michael’s BHC
These two faced off twice this season with the Thunder winning both games. The Thunder would win the first meeting by a score of 5-2. Game two saw St. Mike’s opened a 3-0 lead but the Thunder would battle all the way back for a 5-4 shootout victory. What will this series have in store for us? The Thunder were not shut out all year so chances are that St. Mike’s will need to increase their goal output as the Thunder were the highest scoring team in the regular season. Goaltending will play a huge part in this series and Anthony Flores is riding over sixty minutes of shutout hockey. Massimo Principe finished with 26 points, the Orangemen team finished with 28 goals, from an offence standpoint St. Mike’s didn’t get tested in the QF round like they will versus the Thunder. St. Mike’s defence will be the key as they may be the fastest group in the division and clearing the defensive zone before a forecheck can be established will keep the pressure off. The Thunder must keep their eye on the series at hand and not look past their opponents. A close hard fought series is to be expected.
I invite you all to come experience the Premier level of Ball Hockey on February 13 at 9 and 10 pm as the Final Four get set to determine who will reach the Championship series.