TORONTO: The Wheatfield Souldiers and the Humiliation posted Olympic-sized wins this past Saturday afternoon to break the ice on the 2016/17 UUHA Regular Season. The pair of midday games took place on the international-scale ice pad at Upper Canada College while the facility's other rink underwent scheduled maintenance. Missing the podium on the league's opening day were the Parkdale Lads and the Brockton Rockets, who lost 4-2 and 2-1 to the Souldiers and Humiliation, respectively.
Souldiers rookie Scott Pettus potted the first goal of the new season in the final minute of the opening frame, solving Lads goalie Luis Freitas with the assistance of Brad Sveistrup and cousin Eric Toth. Sveistrup made it 2-0 under five minutes later, skating in a pass from defenceman Keven Magura. Then, a full period later, it was Toth's turn to light the lamp, combining with Sveistrup and Pettus on a nifty tic-tac-toe play that several Lads contended should've been called offside. Forward Mike Frolick responded for the Lads just over a minute later, cutting the deficit to a pair of goals with an unassisted tally over the left shoulder of goaltender Sheldon Shurland. But the Souldiers' three-goal lead was restored shortly thereafter when Rodney Merchant deflected a blue-line volley from Jimmy Murphy up and over the prone tender. Later, Merchant would watch from the penalty box (where he was serving a bench minor for Too-Many-Men) as the Lads' Mike Ryan combined with Fabian Ruzic and Stu Muirhead to halve their opponent's lead on the power-play.
The game was the first meeting between the two teams since the Lads narrowly bumped the Souldiers from the semi-finals in last season's Playoffs.
Humiliation forward Jimmy Sioukas opened the scoring for his squad's inaugural match of the season, combining with team veteran Nicos Fassler mere seconds into the game to solve Rockets' goalie Jonathan Dickson. The Brockton side managed to knot things up midway through the 2nd frame, though, as the father-and-son combo of Mario and Sebastian Vella worked the puck past Humiliation goalie Luke Smit. But proceedings would remain tied for under half a minute as speedy blueliner Andrew Blakeley would step up with a power-play tally before the penalized Rockets' player pants had even hit the sin-bin bench. Mike Thompson and Stephen Cribbin assisted on what would stand as the game-winning goal.
UUHA action continues next Saturday evening at Upper Canada College as the Gas Station Islanders and reigning league Champions, the Beau's Beer Hack, take to the ice at 7:00 pm, followed by the Souldiers and Jokers at 8:00. The night's final match will see the Rockets attempt to get their first win of the season as they go up against the Parkdale Porcupines at 9:00 pm.