The Tornados were without Adam Fancy and Matt Nelson for this week’s game, but the Lightning were in even worse shape because they were missing Captain Kenny White, Scott Cross, Chris Steeves, Marc Davison, and goaltender Paul Highmore when the ball dropped for the opening faceoff. That’s right, kids, they had no subs. Matt Strum opened the scoring by tucking a pass from Captain Alex McLeod past substitute goalie Bobby Zwicker on the opening shift, but Alex Taul beat Jason Boudreau moments later on a setup from Scott Harrigan to level the score. Woody Gouthro restored the lead on the next shift and set up Strum for another at the six-minute mark to make it 3-1. Kenny arrived late and hooked up Taul for his second after six scoreless minutes but then McLeod and Louis Brill added goals to make it 5-2. Taul completed his hat trick on a feed from Kenny in the final minute but Team Tangerine still held a 5-3 edge after twenty.
Strum completed his hat trick early in the final frame but Taul scored his fourth on a setup from Josh Lowe during the next shift to get his team back within two. Bruce Hudson scooped up a loose ball near center as play continued and drove up the middle before sliding a pass down low to Kenny, who scored from a sharp angle to get his team back within one, but that didn’t last long. McLeod and Louis scored to push the lead to three goals, Bruce answered back by knocking in a rebound to make it 8-6 with about twelve minutes remaining, and then the wheels fell off for the Bolts. Louis and Woody both scored off broken plays, Strum stole the ball and picked the low corner from twenty feet out while using a defender as a screen, Kenny took a penalty, and Strum ripped a snapshot into the top corner for a powerplay goal. Alex and Louis added two more, Strum swatted an elevated feed from Blain Sullivan out of midair to pot his sixth goal (and tenth point) of the night, and the Tors waltzed away with a 15-6 win after they’d led by only one goal with twelve minutes left.
The Cyclones were missing Gill Mombourquette, the Thunder were missing Todd Keddy, and both teams had a chance to move to 3-and 2 if they could post a win. Korri Gorman won a battle in the corner on the first shift and centered to Troy Farnell, who knocked it past Tom Wynn from five feet in front to open the scoring. George Anderson took a cross-floor feed from Matt Grove, walked up his off-wing and ripped a low shot off the far post to make it a two-goal edge and Kevin Shute reached past Gord Caines and tipped Matt Monk’s point shot into the net to make it 3-0. Gord scored on a disputed play seconds later (did the ball hit the post or did it go in?) and Steve Rievaj scored during a scramble in front moments later to cut the deficit to one. Gord scored on a slapper from the center circle to tie the game but Kevin potted a diagonal feed from Captain Jordan Castilloux to restore the lead with just under eight minutes left. Gian Scalet made it 4-4 with a low point shot that squirmed through the five hole. Stinky tipped in his hat-trick goal to restore the lead on the next shift but Gord tipped in a point shot to complete a hat trick of his own and knotted things at five apiece. Gian Scalet took a holding penalty in the final minute but here was no more scoring before the break.
The blue crew killed off the remainder of the penalty, largely due to an outstanding effort from Dave Brent. Gord scored his fourth on a backhand deke through the five hole just past the four-minute mark after Dwayne sent him in all alone, giving the Blizzard their first lead of the night. Gorman and Rievaj earned coincidental minors after a crazy collision near the Blizzard net. Troy notched his second from the doorstep just past the eight-minute mark to tie it at 6-6, but Gord restored the lead with his fifth (yes FIFTH!) goal of the game on a nice back-door feed from Gian during a 2-on-1. Nearly five scoreless minutes went by before George lit the lamp with a spinning backhander from ten feet out, making it 7-7 with just under four minutes to go. Jordan and Gian got into a heated confrontation after the goal but no penalties were called. Brent just missed on a tricky centering pass from Gian as play continued but then he eluded Kevin’s forecheck while recovering a dump-in and charged up the gut. A quick pass down low to Gian on the back door led to a sweep-in goal, giving the Azzurri the lead with under two minutes left. Solid defending the rest of the way got the job done and the Blizzard now sit in third place thanks to their 8-7 win.
The Hurricanes only had six runners due to the absence of Peter MacDonald and Greg Wheaton, but the Thunder were also down to six runners because Todd Keddy and Mike Sullivan were unable to attend. Mitch Ellis put the Dark Knights up by one with by whistling an unseeable slapper past Dan Nauss in the early going and Anil Snook made it 2-0 Thunder on the next shift. Thunder Captain Tony Casella finished off a play from Adam Healy on the powerplay after John Doyle took a slashing penalty and his team seemed to be rolling, but Kyle Bayers took an outlet pass from Sean Fitzgerald just past the midway mark of the period and ripped a long shot from thirty feet out that somehow wormed its way through Mike DeGrace to get the Crimson Crew on the scoreboard. Kyle struck again on his next shift, roofing a loose ball after a low centering pass hit Mike in the pads, and five more scoreless minutes kept the score at 3-2 Thunder after the opening period.
Tony knocked a rebound from Mitch’s long rocket into the net out of midair in the opening minute, but Hurricanes Captain Chris Sampson answered back less than a minute later. The Thunder killed off a penalty to Anil and Darcy Edwards rocketed a long slapper into the top corner moments later to make it a 4-2 lead. Tony completed his hat trick on a sweet feed from Darcy after Fitz took a slashing penalty and Colin Waugh scored another powerplay goal after Fitz had tripped up Anil, making it 7-3 with about eight minutes left. Game over? Nope! Kyle completed his hat trick with a lacrosse-style wraparound goal from behind the net, and then Fitz got loose near center and ripped home a high blast past a screen. Doyle took a holding-the-stick penalty in the corner, but the Maroon Platoon killed it off and Kyle scored on a breakaway after an uncharacteristic miscue from Colin. Sampson tied it up after winning control near the benches, curling to the middle and rifling a low shot through the five hole with less than two minutes left and sending the game to a shootout.
Tony went first and was stopped by Dan on a deke to his forehand. Kyle went next and got shut down by Tom on a shot from ten feet out. Anil scored on a quick low shot to the blocker side, and Jonny Anderson missed a chance to tie it up when his shot sailed over the crossbar after he’d frozen Tom with a hesitation move on a deke. Dan stuffed Darcy n a deke move to his backhand, leaving Sampson an opportunity to tie it up. He made a quick deke and tried the Forsberg move but Tom didn’t bite and made the save, securing the 8-7 win for the Thunder.