We can hardly believe it, but the Tier 1 Winter season is about to move into the playoffs! This year has been unexpected to say the least. There has been some fluctuation as far as where teams land in the standings, which is always nice to see. Competition is alive on the floor, which means exciting games for us to watch! If you asked us a couple weeks ago who we thought would be taking first place in the division, we probably would have confidently replied “The Orangemen,” but we really learned that it’s not over till it’s over, as the Niagara War Pigs have been making massive strides to fight to the top these past few weeks. There has been a scary amount of back and forth between the Vaughan Red Wings and Brampton Express as well, who are now sitting tied for third place, just one point behind the War Pigs at 16 points, and the North York Hitmen, who have been impressing us lately, are trailing behind rather closely at 14 points. These teams are basically within arms’ reach of each other, so at this point it’s anyone’s game! Here’s what happened last week, and what we think could go downin the near future.
Metro Orangemen vs. Vaughan Red Wings
The first game of the week saw the Metro Orangemen take on the Vaughan Red Wings. This was an important game for the Orangemen. Being only one point ahead of the War Pigs, it would have been crucial for them to take the win, and put a little cushion between the two teams. It was almost ten minutes before anyone was up on the scoreboard, but eventually, Frankie Giustini of the Vaughan Red Wings managed to score with a nice assist by Chris Monaghan. Steven Defalco of the Orangemen would answer a few minutes later to tie up the score, but The Red Wings’ Robert Shelton would end the first period with another goal, once again putting them in the lead.
There would be a lot of back and forth in the second period, but Frankie Giustini would score again to bring the score to 3-1 in favour of the Red Wings, and the Orangemen just couldn’t come back from the two goal deficit. This meant that the Red Wings would move up to third place in the league, and the Orangemen would remain at 18 points, putting the War Pigs within striking range to pull ahead.
North York Hitmen vs. Barrie Flyers
The second game of the week was surprisingly even and high scoring. The Flyers must have taken their loss against the Express as fuel for the fire, because they put on one Hell of a demonstration. Considering they’re sitting in last, it’s nice to see the Flyers still out there fighting for every goal. They were basically exploding with energy during the first period. By minute 14, they had already scored five unanswered goals against the Hitmen. Determined to not go scoreless in the first period, Nathan Goddard of the Hitmen managed to get his team up on the board, but it wasn’t looking good for them.
In what was quite the unexpected turnaround, the Hitmen saw their opportunity in the second period and took it. Though Randy Kelly of the Flyers scored in the first few seconds of the period with an assist by Krystian Yorke and Tyler Yerex, the Hitmen answered, and they answered loudly. First Paul Duarte, then Victor Azevedo, then Chase Charebois. Pretty rapidly, the Hitmen managed to close a daunting 5 goal deficit. With a tie game of 6-6 it truly looked like this one was headed for a shootout, but Krystian Yorke of the Flyers managed to score the game winning goal, putting the lid on an absolutely intense game of hockey. Though they still sit in last place, this was a great game for the Flyers and moved them up to 4 points overall. The Hitmen remained in fifth place with 14 points, just two below the Brampton Express.
Brampton Express vs. Niagara War Pigs
The final game of the week was an important one, and would see the Brampton Express facing off against the Niagara War Pigs. The Pigs have really been rocking it the last couple weeks, and winning this game would launch them into first overall – above the Orangemen who have been defending first place for weeks.
The first period was not looking pretty for the Pigs. After twelve scoreless minutes, the Brampton Express’ Jazz Singh got the first number on the board with some help from Marquis Mentis and Benny Ventullo. Then, just a few minutes after, the Express’ Shawn Hannon would score again with the help of Frank Dambrosio and Michael Vitro.
One thing we’ve noticed about the Pigs this year, is not to count them out when the chips are down. Staring down at 2 goal deficit, Jason Capaldi of the War Pigs scored within the first minute of the second period with assistance from Marshall Boyes and Iain Downes. A few minutes later, Andrew Jegg of the Pigs scored with the help of Farooq Khan and Jason Capaldi. The game sat at a tie for a very tense ten minutes before Marshall Boyes would score the game winner for the War Pigs with assistance from Andrew Jegg and Farooq Khan. The Express couldn’t make a comeback after that, and the win would put the War Pigs in first.
|Niagara War Pigs||14||9||5||0||19|
|Vaughan Red Wings||14||8||6||0||16|
|North York Hitmen||14||7||7||0||14|
Final Week – Playoff Implications
Game One – Metro Orangemen vs. Brampton Express
The first game coming up this week will see the Metro Orangemen face off against the Brampton Express, two powerhouse teams that’ll surely make for an exciting bout. As we mentioned, the Orangemen have had a terrific year so far, and held their position in first place right up until last week, when the War Pigs managed to pull ahead. Winning against the Express won’t guarantee the Orangemen first place overall, but it’s a possibility depending on how the Pigs do against the Hitmen. A Metro loss could be catastrophic for the Orangemen, potentially dropping them to fifth place if Vaughan also wins. A loss would give the Orangemen a losing head-to-head record against both Vaughan and Brampton during the regular season.
A Brampton win should guarantee them a playoff spot with 18 points and a 2-1 head-to-head record against both Vaughan and Metro. A loss for the Express could see them on the outside looking in when combined with a Hitmen victory. Despite being tied for points, the Hitmen dominated Brampton during the regular season, winning all three match-ups. However, an Express loss together with Vaughan and or a North York loss should put them into the playoffs.
Game Two – Niagara War Pigs vs. North York Hitmen
If Niagara manages to take the win against the Hitmen, they’re guaranteed to take first overall. The War Pigs game against the Hitmen is a tough call, as the pigs have been on fire these last couple weeks, but the Hitmen haven’t been doing terribly themselves, with 7 wins under their belt. We think that if the Pigs keep up their performance, then they’ve got a good chance at defending first, but they can’t relax just because they’re in first place. In the event of a Niagara loss, they could stay in first with a Metro loss or slip to second should Metro defeat Brampton.
If North York does take the win over Niagara, then they’ve got a chance at a playoff spot if the Express fall to Metro. A North York loss will eliminate them from a playoff contention.
Game Three – Vaughan Red Wings vs Barrie Flyers
At this time, it looks as though the Vaughan Red Wings are guaranteed a playoff spot and could finish anywhere from second to fourth depending on how the other games shake out. Their playoff seed is likely to be determined by tie-breaker rules.
Finally, and despite a great effort during last week’s game, the Barrie Flyers are out regardless of the upcoming games’ outcomes.
The upcoming games will see:
The Brampton Express take on The Metro Orangemen – Weds. Dec, 20th (7:00pm)
The Niagara War Pigs take on The North York Hitmen – Weds. Dec, 20th (8:20pm)
&The Vaughan Red Wings take on The Barrie Flyers – Weds. Dec, 20th (9:40pm)
Quebec Ball Hockey Association Premier League Wrap Up
Monday, December 11, 2017
Red Lite vs. Team Haiti
Red Lite dominated Team Haiti from the outset, the built a 5-0 lead in the first and never looked back on their way to a 10-1 victory. Team Haiti’s only bright spot came in the opening period on a goal from P.A. Plaisir. P. DiGiacomo led the way for the Red Lite with a hat trick.
P-Ball vs. Black Knights
P-Ball would be quick out of the gate building a 2-0 leading in the first. The tides would change however, and the Black Knights would add a goal late in the second, and the tying goal late in the third to send the game to a shootout. From there, P-Ball’s goaltender P.O. Girouard would close the door, allowing teammate Benoit Jutras to score the shootout winner.
The SalumiVino player of the was Benoit Jutras of P-Ball. Jutras scored twice against the Black Knights, including the game winner.
Monday, December 18 at 7:30 p.m. – Team Haiti vs. P-Ball