TORONTO - The Beau's Beer Hack strengthened their hold on 1st-place with a 3-0 victory over the lagging Parkdale Hockey Lads this past Saturday night at Upper Canada College. Meanwhile, the previously-soaring Brockton Rockets suffered a similar fate at the hand of the Jokers, dropping a 5-0 decision to the Funniest Team on Ice. And the Gas Station Islanders returned to the win column in a big way, harvesting the Wheatfield Souldiers to the tune of 7-4 on an unusually high-scoring night of UUHA action.
Jeff Kassel, Steve Levine and team captain Ted Bisaillion each picked up 2-points on the night as the Jokers rebounded from a loss last weekend with a 5-0 win over the Brockton Rockets. The victory represented Jokers goaltender Burke Lawrence's first shutout of the season. Levine, Adrian Cavan and Bisaillion each potted 1st-period goals (in that order), while Kassel stepped up with a pair of lamp-lighters in the 2nd. The 3rd period saw no scoring. Bisaillion, Levine, Charlie Rishor, Marc Hickox, Tim Progosh, Joel Lacoursiere, Derek Scott and Mike Takacs were all credited with assists. Although no Rockets managed to solve Lawrence (who turned aside 19 shots en route to the donut shop) the 2nd-place team did skate away with a half point for turning in a penalty-free performance (their 5th of the season). The Brockton Boys now sit three full points back of the league-leading Hack in the standings.
Like the Rockets, the Wheatfield Souldiers picked up a half point on Saturday night, managing to avoiding the penalty box for the fourth time this season. The reigning league champions also managed to avoid the win column for the seventh time, missing another opportunity to reach the illusive .500 mark as the Gas Station Islanders scored early and often on their way to a 7-3 victory. It was the second big win for the Isles in their last three games, having outscored their opponents 15-5 since putting a fork in an eight-game losing streak that still has the squad mired in last place in the standings.
Spectators wouldn't have guessed that on this night, though, particularly if they were watching during the first period, which saw the Gassers get the puck past veteran Souldiers goaltender John Sutton four times, including 2 goals within the first two minutes of the game. The first tally came off the stick of Dominic Chartier, and the second from the twig of spare Courtney Stevens, who would cap off his GSI debut with a hat-trick. The Souldiers drew within a goal midway through the opening frame, as Eric Toth lifted the puck over goaltender Joseph Steinman's shoulder to put his side on the board. But Stevens scored again less than a minute later. Less than a minute after that, Brian Nevin reestablished the two-goal lead, combining with Nick Purdon and Eddie Belanger as audible sighs emanated from the Souldiers bench.
The middle frame saw three more goals go up on the board for the Islanders as Chartier got his second, Stevens potted his third and Seth Singer - again typically unmolested by any opposing players - got in on the action with a crisp shot into a wide open side of the Souldiers net. Burton's Boys did claim the 3rd period with a seeing-eye point shot from Keven Magura and a breakaway marker from team captain Chuck Molgat, but those efforts were too little, too late as the Station Masters improved to 4-9-0 and bettered their chances of getting out of the basement before the Regular Season wraps up.
The Parkdale Hockey Lads maintained their trajectory in the other direction on Saturday night, registering their fifth straight loss, this time against the 1st-place Beau's Beer Hack. Despite the woeful trudge of late that has seen the Lads score just a pair of goals in their past three games, the team still finds itself in 3rd place having opened the season with seven straight wins. That form was a fleeting memory on this night, though, as the Hack went up with two unanswered middle-frame markers off the stick of Aaron Foster (Louis Derand assisted on both) and a late empty-net tally to register their sixth consecutive win and a three-point hold on the top spot in the UUHA standings. The Lads vaunted power-play (tied for 2nd in the league) was unable to take advantage of four separate tripping infractions called on the Hack, as goaltender Aaron Brophy smothered or turned aside all 17 Lads shots to claim his second shutout of the campaign.
Both the Hack and the Lads will be back in action this coming Saturday night at UCC, where the Beau's Boys will attempt to put some additional distance between themselves and the 2nd-place Brockton Rockets, while the Lads attempt to put the breaks on their skid vs. the Jokers. The Humiliation, meanwhile, will face off against the Gas Station Islanders in a game that has the potential to see those two teams swap positions in the standings.