TORONTO - The UUHA kicked off its third season this past Saturday evening with a series of first-ever goings on. The night's opening match between the Gas Station Islanders and reigning league champs the Jokers Hockey Club registered as the first-ever UUHA game contested on the Olympic size ice pad at Upper Canada College's William P. Wilder Arena. The league's usual ice pad had suffered some unusually deep crease-front grooving at the hands (or feet) of the North Toronto hockey players who had been practicing drills on it just prior to the UUHA's 7:00 pm start time. Accordingly, rink staff and league officials decided to take advantage of the open ice on the neighbouring Olympic pad while letting the flood set for an extra hour on the home surface. The rink switcharoo would ultimately play in the favour of the Jokers, whose full compliment of skaters managed to outlast the Isles' comparatively meagre bench to the tune of a 5-3 final.
GSI sniper Dominic Chartier potted the first goal of the new UUHA season less than a minute into the game's opening frame, catching Jokers goaltender Burke Lawrence going the other way and bulging the twine in his wake. Steve Chamberlain knotted things up four minutes later, but Chartier would get the lead back for his side before the period was over. Marc Hickox and Mike Takacs would erase that lead in the second period and put the Funniest Team on Ice ahead going into the third. Although Chartier managed to complete the hat-trick midway through the final frame, Jokers goal-scoring phenom Steve Levine would add a pair of insurance goals for the Jokers, finishing the game with a point on each of his team's five tallies.
The second game of the night saw Humiliation forward Kelly Dutton register the first-ever UUHA goal scored by a female player. Assisted by linemates Mike Thompson and Stephen Cribbin, Dutton's tally came at the 12:50 mark of the third period with her team trailing the Parkdale Porcupines by a single goal. Thompson completed the dramatic comeback a few minutes later, beating Porcs' goaltender Dean Bentley with an unassisted effort. Brian Bentley, Geoff McPeek and last-minute call-up Pete Windrem all scored for the Porcs, while Cribbin and Mark Simmons rounded out Humiliation scoring.
And in the first-ever, regularly-scheduled 9:00 pm UUHA contest, the new-look Parkdale Hockey Lads and Wheatfield Souldiers combined for an anemic 13 shots en route to a close-checking 1-1 tie. Souldiers forward Eric Toth potted his team's lone goal near the end of the second period, converting a nifty passing play from linemates Mike Harkness and Jon Weier. But at the 7:27 mark of the third period, Lads forward Paul Simmons (playing in his first game since being acquired during the off-season from the Humiliation) got the better of a goalmouth scramble to knot things up at a single per side. Simmons was one of four Lads skaters playing their first-ever game for the Boys in Blue. The others included defensive signing (and Meat/Fruit veteran) Jason Abrams, league newcomer Dave Ball and spare call-up Kevin Brauti. The game also saw the UUHA debut of Souldiers rookie defenceman Derek Domingos. Though tested infrequently, both goaltenders Sheldon Shurland (Souldiers) and Luis Freitas (Lads) turned in key saves to keep their respective teams in the game.
UUHA action gets back underway at 7:00 pm next Saturday, Sept 17 at UCC.