The Rec Division opened up Sunday at the April Fools OBHA Winter Provincial ball hockey tournament with four quarter final match ups after a very competitive round robin series. In the hunt for the championship were the London Gulls, Toronto Hawks, Hamilton Lightning, Hamilton Haze, Rebels, Healthy Scratches, Ottawa Magic, and the Alpacas. After some closely fought playoff round battles, the Hamilton Lightning would capture the division championship with a 5-1 win over the London Gulls. This tournament was co-hosted by the Ontario Ball Hockey Association (OBHA) and Ball Hockey International (BHi).
Quarter Final – London Gulls vs. Toronto Hawks
In the first game, the London Gulls controlled the Battle of the Birds from the outset, cruising to an easy 7-0 win over the Toronto Hawks. A standout game from Gulls’ Kyle Dicicco (2G 1A) helped them advance to the semi-final.
Quarter Final – Hamilton Lightning vs. Alpacas
It was a similar story in the next quarter final as the Hamilton Lightning handled the Alpacas enroute to a 5-2 win. The Alpacas would battle down to the final seconds but the Lightning lead was too much to overcome. The Lightning were led by Brandon Agnew (1G 2A).
Quarter Final – Hamilton Haze vs. Ottawa Magic
In the third quarter-final, the Hamilton Haze would jump out to an early 1-0 lead only to see Ottawa find their legs and build a 2-1 lead heading into the third. The Haze would pull out all the stops, applying constant pressure in the final period and would eventually tie up the game with an empty net to send the game into overtime. Nothing would be settled in OT, which means one thing … shootout! The first four shooters for each team couldn’t solve the opposing netminder until the Haze’s Patrick Digiancinto would find the back of the net and give the Haze the 3-2 victory.
Quarter Final – Healthy Scratches vs. Rebels
In the final quarter final match up, the Healthy Scratches would build up an early 2-0 lead on the Rebels and go on to a 5-0 win. The score did not reflect the quality of this game as the Rebels put consistent pressure on the Healthy Scratches but could not find a solution to the Healthy Scratches goaltender.
Semi Final – London Gulls vs. Healthy Scratches
On to the semi-final! This kicked off with the Gulls taking on the Healthy Scratches. The Gulls would build an early 2-1 lead, only to see it slip away in the third with the Healthy Scratches coming on hard, eventually taking a 3-2 lead. However, the Gulls would tie it up 3-3 with 15 seconds left with the extra attacker. The Gulls would take this momentum into the OT frame and Kyle Dicicco would score the winner on a beauty shot to the bottom corner.
Semi Final – Hamilton Lightning vs. Hamilton Haze
The second semi-final was a Steeltown showdown with both Hamilton teams facing each other. The Lightning would strike first, notching 2 goals in the first period, giving them the early lead. In the second, Haze goalie, Bryan Blancher stood on his head to keep the team in the game but ultimately the Haze would still trail by 2 going into the third. In the final period, the Lightning would add some insurance half way through the period and go on to a 3-0 win.
Championship Final – Hamilton Lightning vs. London Gulls
The final was set with the London Gulls taking on the Hamilton Lightning. The Lightning would jump out to an early 1-0 lead, jumping on a loose ball in front of the Gulls net. The Lightning would take that lead into the second period. The Lightning would add another early in the second frame but, the Gulls would storm back less than 30 seconds later with their first of the game to cut the Lightning lead to 2-1. From that point, Hamilton would take control, adding 3 more goals before the end of the period to carry a 5-1 lead into the third. There was no scoring in the third as the Lightning would clamp down defensively and ride their four goal lead to the Rec Division Championship. Mitch Moriarity (2G), and netminder Tyson Cowell led the way for the Lightning.
Check in tomorrow for a full re-cap of the Intermediate Division at the 2017 April Fools OBHA Winter Provincial.