Semi-Finals (Week 2) hosted two exciting games – Lake Raiders (14-6-0) vs. Bulldogs (9-9-2); and Kings (9-8-3) vs. Mustangs (9-9-2).
Game 1 (Bulldogs vs. Lake Raiders) The first game of the series was an exciting affair and we were hoping for more of the same for the rematch and it didn’t disappoint. These two teams are very evenly matched but unfortunately when it all came down to it, it was a little bad luck on the Lake Raiders side and a whole bunch of good luck on the Bulldogs side that decided the outcome. Period One saw the Lake Raiders, needing a win to stay alive, come out with a little jump and it didn’t take too long for them to make some noise. At 3:45 Raiders Jeremy Schofield took a long hanging shot from the centre ice area and dropped it just in behind Bulldogs Keeper Mohit Sharma putting them up 1-0. The play then tightened up on both sides and they remained scoreless for the remainder of the first frame. Period Two saw a continuation of the close checking play and both sides, knowing the importance of this game, had toned down the raucous play we had seen in the Series opener. It was at this point things started to turn a little sour for the Lake Raiders. Raiders Jeremy Schofield picked up the ball in his end and proceeded to cut into the middle, as the Bulldogs forwards descended on him. Schofield attempted a clearing pass but struck heavy traffic, it took an errant bounce and ended up in his own net (Bulldogs Franco Paonessa credited at 12:29) and both sides were tied at 1-1. Period Three saw the Lake Raiders woe’s continue. At 8:16 Raiders Erin Vassilakos took an “In the Crease” penalty and on the ensuing Power Play Bulldogs Franco Paonessa took a Jerry Mariano pass and hammered it by Raiders Keeper Neil Mercer for his second of the game and the lead for the “Big Dogs” 2-1. The Lake Raiders still weren’t ready to call it quits and when the Bulldogs Franco Paonessa took a “Charging” call at 13:44 they saw their opportunity. With the man advantage, Raiders Schofield found an open Erin Vassilakos out in front of the Bulldogs net and she made no mistake (at 14:18) putting both sides (2-2) with just 42 seconds remaining and O.T. looming. With the seconds winding down, the Lake Raiders had the Bulldogs Franco Paonessa penned deep in the corner of their (Raiders) zone. With nowhere to go Paonessa launched a flip shot towards the Lake Raiders’ net, it landed on Raiders Keeper Neil Mercer’s neck rolled off his shoulder and into their net (Paonessa / unassisted at 14:50). With just 10 seconds remaining Paonessa gets his third marker of the game, eliminating the Lake Raiders and moving his team onto the M.D. Cup Finals. Final 3-2 Bulldogs over Lake Raiders . Bulldogs wins Series 2-0.
Game 2 (Mustangs vs. Kings) With the Mustangs taking the first game of the Series, the Kings were in a must win position and battling for their Playoff lives meanwhile the Mustangs wanted to maintain their winning momentum and carry it over to the M.D. Cup Finals versus the Bulldogs. Period One was a close encounter with both sides playing tentatively and no one wanting to make that first costly mistake. The first frame wound down with the Scoreboard still reading 0-0. Period Two saw the Kings come out flying and it seemed to take the Mustangs by surprise. Just one minute into the frame (1:05) The Kings David Donnelly picked up the Isaac Vescio rebound and slid it past Mustangs Keeper Brad Gordon putting the Kings out in front 1-0. Just a couple of minutes later (3:15) the Kings Mike Iacovone seemed to catch all the Mustangs flat footed as he streaked into their zone and launched a laser that handcuffed Keeper Gordon once again and the Kings were up by two (2-0). The two quick Kings markers seemed to wake the Mustangs up and at 4:07 Roberto Monteiro took a cross-crease pass from Nicole Neeson and tucked one behind Kings Keeper Leo Xu for the first time, 2-1 Kings. The Mustangs rally wasn’t to last long as the Kings came back with a vengeance. At 11:45 the Kings Isaac Vescio made a brilliant end to end rush and snuck another one past Mustangs Keeper Brad Gordon making it 3-1 Kings. Then less than a minute later (12:25), Vescio this time, found an open David Donnelly in front of the Mustangs net, and he pushed it home moving the score up to 4-1 for the Kings. The remainder of the frame had no further damage. Period Three saw the Mustangs start off with a push trying to mount a final-frame comeback. At 1:52 Mustangs Roberto Monteiro (unassisted) picked up a loose ball just inside the Kings hash marks and knocked it past Keeper Xu making it 4-2 Kings. The Kings then switched to defensive mode crushing any offense the Mustangs could muster – the comeback was not to be. This one will have to be decided in a do or die Game Three. Final 4-2 Kings over Mustangs. Series tied at 1 apiece.
On April 23rd 2016, the Playoffs continue with Semi-Finals Week 3 as the Kings take on the Mustangs when it’s Do or Die. The winner moves on to face the Bulldogs in the Championship Finals! at Sunnyview Public School. Come watch the TPWHL next Saturday from 12:30 to 3:30 PM.