TORONTO - The room-temperature Wheatfield Souldiers edged the comparatively-hotter Humiliation this past Friday night at Maple Leaf Gardens by a score of 2-0. The second goal, scored with a minute-and-a-half remaining in the 3rd period, was an empty-net tally.
A scoreless contest until the 4:50 mark of the final frame, the Humiliation appeared to have an early jump on the Souldiers, routinely beating their opponent to the puck and maintaining the advantage in shots on goal. The Orange Tide were gifted with a pair of open-net opportunities, as well, but both were rescinded by goaltender Sheldon Shurland with nearly-identical windmill blocker saves made from a prone position, initially late in the 2nd period and then again early in the 3rd. By the midway point of the 3rd momentum seemed to have shifted to the Souldiers, perhaps due to the fact they had three forward lines to the Humiliation's two, and thus fresher late-stage legs.
The game-winning goal (and lone tally scored with a keeper in net) came off the stick of Souldiers' veteran Jimmy Murphy, who broke into the offensive zone and delivered a hard, along-the-ice slap shot that narrowly beat goaltender Luke Smit, who had come out of his crease a few feet to challenge. Brad Sveistrup and Eric Toth picked up assists on the Murphy goal. Scott Pettus' unassisted insurance marker was potted three minutes later with Smit pulled for the extra attacker.
With the 2-0 win, Shurland earned his second shutout of the season and is currently tops among UUHA goalies with a miserly 1.60 goals against average.
The Souldiers and Humiliation will go at it again on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 for the second game of their two-game season series. That match will be an afternoon contest (5:00 pm) and will also take place at Maple Leaf Gardens.