Jokers captain Ted Bisaillion (#7) beams like a proud papa as his squad - resplendent in new team uniforms - discusses strategy prior to Saturday night's match at Upper Canada College.
TORONTO - The Safety First Jokers Hockey Club wasted little time getting on the scoreboard this past Saturday night at Upper Canada College, going up 1-0 on the Brockton Rockets just 19 seconds into the opening period of the game. After breaking up an initial rush by the Brockton side, defenceman Craig Hughson sprang lanky Jokers forward Mike Takacs who made good on the first shot of the game, solving goaltender Chris Kourtis high stick-side. Talented spare Wayne Jones would make it 2-0 before the period was over, with Steve Levine and Gary Rideout Jr. setting up the first of three goals on the night for Jones. Rideout, Levine and spare Greg Spanovic would also score for the winning side, while Rockets Michael Wilcox, James Neilson and Oliver Sutherns combined to make a game of it by solving goalie Burke Lawrence on three separate occasions. Wilcox picked up points on all three Rockets goals, earning 3rd Star honours in the process.
In other UUHA action, the Humiliation managed to keep the Beau's Beer Hack out of the win column, potting a goal in each period en route to a 3-1 victory. Three games into the campaign the Hack (0-1-2) is just one of two UUHA teams still looking for its first win (the other being the Gas Station Islanders). Humiliation rookie Andrew Blakely figured into all three of his side's goals, scoring the game-winner while helping set up the first and third tallies. Those goals (scored by Luke Moretti and Jim Sioukas, respectively) were both of highlight-reel quality as the orange-clad players fought off two defenders on the way to the net, ultimately getting the puck past goaltender Aaron Brophy. Nicos Fassler and Aaron Knight also collected assists on the Humiliation goals. At the other end of the rink, Hack veteran David Laverdiere spoiled spare goaltender Burke Lawrence's second shutout bid of the season, combining with Aaron Foster and Wade Ivan for the marker. Lawrence turned aside 29 of 30 shots for the win, while the Humiliation mustered 20 attempts.
The final game of the night saw the Wheatfield Souldiers pick up their first win of the season, doubling up on the Morningstars 4-2 (the last goal being an empty-netter in the final minute of play). After a scoreless 1st period Brad Sveistrup got the Souldiers on the board first, combining with Kelly McCaig and Wes Gerbrandt to deposit a screen shot over the left shoulder of goaltender Mark Robinson. However, just 10 seconds later Mike MacMillan was sprung off the faceoff by Murray Cooke to draw the Morningstars even at 1-1. On the first shift of the final frame, though, Souldiers forward Mike Harkness got his side back on top, collecting a redirected stretch pass to skate in unmolested. McCaig followed with an insurance marker five minutes later, but that policy was shredded shortly thereafter by veteran Morningstars forward Steve Stanley, who converted a set-up play from Paul Chisholm and Tobin Davis to get things back within one. Despite an offensive push with Robinson pulled for the extra attacker, Souldiers goalie John Sutton maintained the gate long enough for Keven Magura to capitalize on the vacancy between the pipes, finding the mark with a long backhand shot.
UUHA play continues next Saturday, March 27 with an afternoon matinee contest at Maple Leaf Gardens featuring the Brockton Rockets and Wheatfield Souldiers. The puck drops on that match at 4:00 PM. Later that evening the Battle of Parkdale heats up with the Porcupines and Hockey Lads returning to action at 7:00 PM. The Humiliation and Jokers take to the ice immediately after that, while the night's 9:00 PM game sees the Hack and GSI face off in pursuit of a piece of the win column. All three evening contests take place at Upper Canada College.