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No First Round Upsets as Lads, Jokers, Souldiers and Humiliation Advance to Winners' Bracket
Posted By: uuhadood
Sunday, March 04, 2018

 
TORONTO - Despite a pair of series-deciding shootouts, the opening round of the 2018 UUHA Playoffs resulted in zero upsets as the four teams finishing atop the Regular Season standings advanced over their lower half opponents this past Saturday night at Upper Canada College.
 
The Humiliation went into their 7:00 pm contest vs. the Beau's Beer Hack trailing in the series after dropping a one-goal decision to the former two-time league Champions last weekend. A scoreless 1st period seemed to indicate an advantage for the Hack, at least in terms of shots on goal which favoured Beau's Boys by a margin of 8-2. Humiliation goaltender Luke Smit had clearly come out to play, as he turned aside all but one of an additional 15-shot barrage. The Black Wizards were first on the scoreboard, potting a power-play marker early in the 2nd frame as a two-man advantage transitioned to a five-on-four scenario. Glenn Gummerson got the goal with Andrew Blakeley assisting. The score remained 1-0 until the last half minute of the 2nd when Blakely pounced on a rebound off a Luke Moretti attempt to double the lead at the tail end of a period that saw the Hack shorthanded for another four minutes. Louis Durand halved the Hack's deficit with 3:18 remaining in the 3rd period, but despite a strong push that saw much of the last two minutes played in the Humiliation end, the result would be a tied series, prompting a shootout to see which team would advance.
 
Both teams' initial shooters failed to score, but the next attempt by speedy Humiliation forward Jimmy Sioukas found twine just behind goaltender Aaron Brophy. Advantage Humiliation. The next Hack shooter was also turned aside by Smit, setting up Blakely for the potential winner. Approaching with variable speed, Blakely deked backhand, then to his forehand and, patiently, found just enough room behind the committed tender to pot the goal, negating the need for a third Hack shooter and sending a ripple of cheerful pride along the visitors' bench.
 
The Parkdale Porcupines needed to steal a page from the Wheatfield Souldiers 2017 Playoffs playbook, which saw Burton's Boys bounce back from a Game 1 loss to win Game 2, then win the ensuing shootout to advance to the Winners' Bracket. After one period of play, though, it wasn't looking good for the Pines with the Souldiers (who needed only a tie to win the series) up 1-0 on a goal from team scoring leader Eric Toth (assisted by the Harkness brothers). But after a scoreless 2nd period that saw the teams combine for four minors (including a two-man deficit for the Souldiers), Porcupines' speedster Daniel Tremblay combined with linemate Todd Moffat to beat goaltender Sheldon Shurland with a post-and-in squeaker at the 12:10 mark. Just over a minute later, Tremblay struck again, this time unassisted, to put the Quills up in the driver's seat at 2-1. However, a hard, high point shot from veteran Souldiers defenceman Keven Magura drew the reigning Champions even at 2-2. That tally apparently sparked the Souldiers bench, as Kelly McCaig came through with a top-shelf go-ahead goal under two minutes later, followed by an insurance marker off the stick of Rodney Merchant three minutes after that to pull the Golden Boys ahead 4-2. Tremblay would complete his hat-trick on the power-play with just 52 seconds remaining on the clock, but the Souldiers held on to take the game and the series, dispatching the Porcupines in the 1st round for the second consecutive time.
 
After suffering a rather lopsided loss in Game 1 of their two-game, first-to-three-points series vs. the Jokers the Brockton Rockets knew their Game 2 game plan consisted of two pieces, neither of them easy: win Game 2, then win the shootout to take the series. Part one of that plan got off to a glorious start with a pair of early goals (one each from Dustin Harris and Blaine Tynes) to put the Rockets up 2-0 just four minutes into the game. But Jokers Derek Thompson and Joel Lacoursiere were, as they say, not buying what Brockton was selling and proved it by lighting two lamps (both, incidentally, assisted by captain Ted Bisaillion) to take the game into the 2nd frame tied 2-2. Further complicating the Rockets plan was Steve Levine, who put the Jokers up by a goal early in the 2nd, but Brockton scoring threat James Neilson answered back with a goal of his own just two minutes later to tie things back up. A draw wouldn't do it for the Rockets, though, and Bryan Eelhart was well aware of that as he converted a pass from Joseph Desjardins to beat Jokers goalie Burke Lawrence and reclaim the lead for the Brocktonites. Oliver Sutherns would add an unassisted insurance marker to complete the first item on the Rockets' to-do list. The next item, a series-deciding shootout, would start out on track for the Rockets, as Eelhart carried the puck in from centre and beat Lawrence clean with a pinpoint wrister. Steve Levine then shot for the Jokers and solved Rockets goalie Jonathan Dickson (who had been outstanding throughout the game in which he faced a whopping 30 shots from the Jokers). Harris went next for the Rockets, but Lawrence won that battle, setting the stage for Jokers scoring threat Gary Rideout Jr. who made good on his attempt. Next up for the Rockets was Neilson, who was stopped by Lawrence as the Jokers won the shootout and the series in dramatic fashion.

Over the course of this past Regular Season, and thus far in the Playoffs, the Parkdale Hockey Lads have enjoyed the upper hand when facing the Gas Station Islanders. That trend would have to change on this particular night if the Isles were going to turn their fortunes around and lay claim to a Winners' Bracket berth. A minute into the game, that plan took hold as Cam Collyer dashed any Lads' dreams of a Game 2 shutout victory, putting the Gassers up 1-0. Lads veteran Ryan Kalinka erased that lead midway through the period, though, scoring his second goal of the playoffs (with Mike Frolick and Fabian Ruzic assisting). Steve Boyd set up Dominic Chartier late in the 2nd, though, restoring GSI's lead, but that too was erased just over a minute later when Mike Frolick found twine behind goalie Joe Steinman to knot proceedings up once more. The almost burlesque-like, cat-and-mouse game continued into the 3rd period, as GSI's Nick Purdon won the lead back for his side, only to have it taken away by Kyle Welton, whose tying tally - if it stood - would be enough for the Lads to punch their ticket through to the Winners' Bracket. But with a mere half minute remaining, and the Islanders net empty for the extra attacker, the tie would be transformed into a win... for the Lads, as rookie Eric Croussette got the puck over the goal line and, in doing so, put the game and the series out of reach for the Islanders.
 
The Islanders, along with the Rockets, Porcupines and Hack, will now enjoy - or endure - a week off as the four winning teams take each other on this coming Friday evening, March 9 at Maple Leaf Gardens. The Humiliation and Lads will take to the Gardens ice at 8:00 pm that night, followed by the Souldiers and Jokers at 9:00 pm. The two winners of those contests will advance to the Semifinals on Saturday, March 24 at UCC, while the two losing teams will see their next action on Saturday, March 17 at UCC where they'll need to win a Querterfinal match in order to qualify for the following weekend's Semis.
 
Meanwhile, the Isles and Rockets, along with Pines and Hack, will be back on the ice (and in those pairings) on March 17 at UCC, with the winners of those matches sticking around for some sweaty, doubleheader Querterfinals action. (See the 2018 Playoff Structure graphic below for reference.)  

 
2018 Playoffs League Leaders
GOALS
Brian Neven
Gas Station Islanders
7
Steve Levine
Jokers Hockey Club
7
Aaron Foster
Beau's Beer Hack
7
Daniel Tremblay
Parkdale Porcupines
5
James Neilson
Brockton Rockets
4
ASSISTS
Ian Seeton
Parkdale Hockey Lads
6
Dominic Chartier
Gas Station Islanders
6
Steve Boyd
Gas Station Islanders
5
Gary Rideout Jr.
Jokers Hockey Club
5
Kyle Welton
Parkdale Hockey Lads
5
POINTS
Ian Seeton
Parkdale Hockey Lads
9
Kyle Welton
Parkdale Hockey Lads
9
Brian Neven
Gas Station Islanders
9
Dominic Chartier
Gas Station Islanders
9
Aaron Foster
Beau's Beer Hack
9
GOALIES (GAA)
Sheldon Shurland
Wheatfield Souldiers
1.60
Luke Smit
Humiliation
1.80
Burke Lawrence
Jokers Hockey Club
2.40
Luis Freitas
Parkdale Hockey Lads
2.50
Joseph Steinman
Gas Station Islanders
3.80

» Team Rosters Announced for Good Friday's Super Cup Tourney - Mar 26, 2018
» Wheatfield Souldiers, Humiliation to Vie for UUHA Championship - Mar 25, 2018
» Quarter-final Victories Send Lads, Jokers to Semis - Mar 18, 2018
» Wheatfield Souldiers, Humiliation Advance to Semifinals - Mar 10, 2018
» Last Call for Super Cup 2018 Registration - Mar 5, 2018
....................................................................................................................................
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» Souldiers reactivate Hegan - Nov 6, 2009 - Wheatfield Souldiers
» Humiliation Reactivate Duncan - Sep 30, 2009 - Humiliation
» Souldiers reactivate Sutton - Sep 28, 2009 - Wheatfield Souldiers



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