The Ontario Tier 1 playoffs have been going strong – and we mean strong – over the last couple weeks. The Metro Orangemen attempted to keep their momentum as they faced off against the Brampton Express once again, and the Niagara War Pigs sought to pick themselves back up after losing to the Red Wings the week prior. These games were among the most important of the series, as they would determine who moves on to the final games. These matches were definitely spicy, and there were some unexpected outcomes…a tie-breaker was even necessary just this past Wednesday! In the end though, only two teams could move on to the final games. Who moved on? We’re here with an update to fill you in on exactly that. Enjoy!
Game 1 – Vaughan Red Wings vs. Niagara War Pigs
The first game of the week featured a game two battle between the Vaughan Red Wings and the Niagara War Pigs. We truly weren’t sure what to expect out of this game. As we’ve detailed in previous Tier 1 updates, the War Pigs have had a tremendous few showings this year – particularly nearing the end of the season. The Red Wings showed us the meaning of perseverance in their first semi-final game though, so we were certain they weren’t leaving without a fight. They proved us right straight out of the gate during this game, as they were the first ones up on the board. Frankie Giustini scored in the first five minutes of the game with assists from Jordan Bumeliani and Taylor Tollefson. Then, after a largely scoreless period, Frankie Giustini scored again, with assistance from Chris Monaghan and Flavio Fiorucci just one minute before the buzzer. The Red Wings were heading into the second period looking pretty squeaky-clean with a score of 2-0 over the War Pigs.
We’ve learned not to count the Pigs out though, and they showed us why, as Kyle Qusijenko scored early in the second period with help from Bryan McGahey. Just two minutes later, Justin Bowers of the War Pigs scored again to tie up the game with some help from Mike Formica and Marshall Boyes. After this the game was at a nail-biting standstill for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, nearing the end of the period, the Red Wings came out ferociously, and Frankie Giustini scored his third goal of the game with assists from Massimo Principe and Matt Martello. With just ten seconds left on the clock, Anthony Vanente of the Red Wings sealed the deal with one final goal with some help from Jordan Bumeliani, winning the game with a final score of 4-2.
This was an exciting game, and both teams wanted that win, but we have to say, we’re floored with the display the Vaughan Red Wings put on during their last two games. After what we saw out of the War Pigs nearing the end of the regular season, we were ready to watch them take the whole thing, but the Red Wings persevered, and because of that they’ve secured themselves a position in the finals and a chance to take home the championship.
Game 2 – Brampton Express vs Metro Orangemen
After what we saw between the War Pigs and the Red Wings, we weren’t about to make any predictions on the outcome of this game. While the Orangemen took the victory during their last match, the Express aren’t a team that are going to give up easily. Adam Bevilqcqua proved this by scoring the first goal for the Express with assists by James Mentis and Calin Wilde. This would be the only goal of the first period, and would have the Express in the lead moving into the second.
This trend would continue in the second period, as Calin Wilde would score Brampton’s second goal at the six-minute mark, with assists by Shawn Hannon and Gurjeet Gill. The Orangemen, fighting to stay alive would score with a goal by Ricky Daponte, assisted by Chris Cerqueira, but it just wouldn’t be enough for them to pull ahead.
Like we’ve said in the past, these are two powerhouse teams, which can often result in a lot of back and forth, and some low scoring games. In this case It came down to just the one goal, and the Express ended up taking the win. This victory for the Express meant one final showdown between the Express and the Orangemen on January 17th to determine who would be moving on to the final round to face off against the Vaughan Red Wings.
Semi Final Tie-Breaker – Metro Orangemen vs. Brampton Express
This was a tense matchup. The winner of this game would move on to play the Vaughan Red Wings in the finals, so both the Metro Orangemen and the Brampton Express were fired up, and ready to advance. The Orangemen fired onto the floor hot and Ricky Daponte scored their first goal with an assist by Danny Rocha. Not to be outdone, Anthony Quattrociocchia tied the game up just two minutes later with assistance from Shawn Hannon. The game would remain at a standstill for nearly ten minutes before anyone would score again, but the Orangemen eventually managed to take the lead a second time, as Anthony Zerafa scored with some help by Danny Rocha and Justin Cruz. Continuing the trend, the Express answered quickly with a goal by Marcel Mallais assisted by Adam Bevilacqua and Shawn Hannon.
The rest of the first period, and the majority of the second period would remain a stalemate. Neither team was ready to concede a loss, and competition was in the air. Of course, in the end, only one team could take the win, and after eighteen minutes of scoreless play, Anthony Zerafa of the Metro Orangemen made sure it was them with some help from Steven Defalco and Justin Cruz.
That was it, the Express were unable to pull back after the Orangemen scored their game winner. This victory means that the Orangemen will advance to the finals and will face off against the Red Wings in the January 24th and 31st games.
Quebec Ball Hockey Association Premier League
P-Ball vs Team Haiti
After a scoreless first period, P-Ball absolutely fired onto the floor during the second, scoring three goals against Team Haiti, and continued the trend right through the end of the game. Team Haiti managed to score one goal against P-Ball, but were unable to pull themselves back from the two goal deficit. Following this, P-Ball scored two more goals, winning the game with a score of 5-1.
Red Lite vs Black Knights.
This game was a close one. It was mostly a very even match, resulting in a tie score of 4-4 nearing the end of the second period. This wouldn’t last though, as the Red Lite would score one final time late in the game, giving them the win with a score of 5-4 over the Black Knights.