TORONTO - Playing nearly a third of the game shorthanded, the Parkdale Hockey Lads held off the league-leading Humiliation en route to a rare scoreless draw this past Saturday night at Upper Canada College. Meanwhile, the Wheatfield Souldiers defeated the Parkdale Porcupines 4-2 to bust out of a funk that saw the team drop five of its last six contests. The Jokers found the win column, too, bettering the Brockton Rockets by a pair of goals to claim their first victory in five games.
Lads goalie Luis Freitas and Humiliation netminder Luke Smit both claimed their second shutouts of the season in a match that saw nine minor penalties recorded, seven of them going against the Lads. But despite enjoying six situations with the man advantage (including one extended five-on-three opportunity) the Humiliation failed to capitalize, shut down in part by goalie Freitas (who turned aside all 12 shots he faced over the course of the game) as well as a stingy Lads defence that forced the Black Wizards to pass rather than shoot on occasion after occasion. The Lads registered a dozen shots of their own, at least a couple of which were stopped by Smit during the lone Lads powerplay near the end of the 2nd period.
In contrast to the that match, the Porcupines and Souldiers both picked up a bonus half point for going penalty-free in a high-tempo, back-and-forth match that saw Burton's Boys break out of one of the team's worst slumps in years. (The team had lost it's previous four games and, since going unbeaten in their first six outings of the season, recorded just one win in their last six contests.) Veteran blueliner Keven Magura opened the scoring midway through the first frame, converting a pass from Bob Lavery and finding a hole over goaltender Tom Leeson's left shoulder. Fellow Souldiers D-man Derek Domingos made it 2-0 just three minutes later, combining with Eric Toth and Steve Harkness for his first tally of the season. The Pines' Jay Browne halved the Souldiers lead in the 2nd, though (with Todd Moffat and Derek McChesney assisting), burying the rebound off of a high shot that popped in and out of goaltender Sheldon Shurland's catcher, off the goalpost and into the blue paint. Domingos teamed with Jimmy Murphy to restore the two-goal lead midway through the 3rd, before Toth picked up his 12th goal of the season with a couple minutes remaining in the game. That was enough time for Moffat to spring spare player Yan Bourassa (on loan from the Gas Station Islanders) on a breakaway that saw him light the lamp with just 27 seconds on the clock. The Quills' Jeff Payette also assisted on that one, which would prove to be the final tally of the game.
Brockton Rockets scoring leader Dustin Harris combined with Blaine Tynes to pot the opening goal in the evening's late game vs. the Jokers. The next two tallies, however, would come off the sticks of Jokers Charlie Rishor and Tim Progosh, the latter putting the Funniest Team on Ice up by one just three minutes into the 2nd period. Rocketman Michael Wilcox would get his side back on even terms before the period was over, though, solving goalie Burke Lawrence with a hard, quick shot along the ice and earning Tynes and Joseph Desjardins helpers in the process. But the final frame belonged to the Jokers as Gary Rideout Jr. and Joel Lacoursiere both tallied to staunch a four-game winless streak that saw the Jokers drop their past two games, and tie the two matches prior to that. The win gave the Jokers sole possession of 3rd place in the standings - or 2nd place, if you consider the Rockets and Humiliation are tied for 1st with 18 points each (the Humiliation get honours, though, for boasting a better win percentage).
UUHA Regular Season action continues next Saturday, Jan. 27 with the Jokers in the hunt for 1st place vs. the league-leading Humiliation at 7:00 pm. The Beau's Beer Hack and Gas Station Islanders return to action after that, facing off against one another at 8:00 pm. And the final match of the night will see the Wheatfield Souldiers attempt to even their season series with the Parkdale Hockey Lads at 9:00 pm. Al three games take place at Upper Canada College.