Story Developing ...

Story Developing ...

Story Developing ...


The early game this week had the Hurricanes (missing Matt Nelson and Bruce Hudson) taking on the Lightning (full team) in a battle for first place. Matt Mitchell beat Dan Nauss on a setup from Rylan Smith on the opening shift to put the maroon platoon in front. Rylan scored on a feed from Alex De Sousa about a minute later, and Cameron Smith teed up Rylan for another one to make it 3-0 before the game was even five minutes old. Kenny White took a lead pass from Matt Monk and slipped a shot past Bob Strum to get the Bolts on the scoreboard, but both goaltenders were solid after that and it remained 3-1 for six scoreless minutes. 

Playing 3-on-3 after White and De Sousa took coincidental minors, Rylan broke the spell by scoring his hat-trick goal on an unassisted effort, only to see Geoff Briggs reply with a wicked snipe just fifteen seconds later. Captain Gord Caines finished off a pass from Rylan to make it 5-2 but the Bolts answered quickly once again when Captain Alex McLeod set up Eddie Kell for a no-doubter. Back within a couple and with under two minutes left in the period, they seemed to be in good shape. Ten seconds later, Rylan set up De Sousa for a hard shot that sailed past Dan into the net. Gord notched his second goal on a pass from Cameron with just eleven ticks left on the clock and put the crimson crew up 7-3 after twenty. 

The final period was all about goaltending and team defence. The Hurricanes did an excellent job of keeping the Lightning snipers to the outside, making life easier for Bob while leaving Travis Whitehead, Louis Brill, Kenny, and Geoff visibly frustrated. Rylan notched his fourth of the night and De Sousa added another about a minute later, pushing the lead to six. After that, Alex and his D corps started doing the same thing to the Hurricanes. Dan and Bob took advantage of the excellent defending and slammed the door shut. Bruce arrived with about eight minutes left thanks to traffic delays and fired a setup pass from Rylan just wide, but none of the other shooters were having much success either. In fact, this game ended with a sixteen-minute scoreless stretch. The 9-3 win means the Hurricanes and Lightning now have identical 6-and-2 records and neither team can finish any lower than 2nd place in the standings. 

Next up, the Blizzard (missing Peter MacDonald) against a Thunder team that had a full roster thanks to the return of Captain Tony Casella from the injury list. Four minutes in, Ryan Rideout picked off a flubbed clearing pass and fed the ball to Dave Cooper. His quick shot past a screen found its way through Marty Kane to put the blue crew ahead. Anil Snook made a great stretch pass to send Tony in alone on Peter Regimbald, but the leader of the Black Knights hit the goalpost after making a F-B deke and Peter was able to freeze the ball. At the other end, Captain Dwayne Blanchard retrieved the ball after Greg Wheaton’s shot went wide. He circled the net on his backhand and jammed a backhand past Marty to put his team up two. Peter made two great stops on Matt Strum to hold his opponents off the scoresheet and play went the other way. Cooper fed a return pass to Dwayne on a give-n-go play from the corner and watched his captain bury it to put his Blizzard up 3-0 halfway through the period. Next shift, Adam Mackenzie finally swatted the ball past Peter to make it 3-1 after he and Strum had taken several whacks at the loose ball in the crease. Jonny Anderson made a nice backhand pass to Tommy Zivanovic on a 2-on-1 break after play resumed but TZ’s shot sailed over the crossbar. Same sequence, TZ gets the ball in front and sends a backhand wormburner between his own legs that slides just wide of the far post. Both goalies were strong the rest of the way and the score remained 3-1 Blizzard at the break. 

The Thunder made a strong push to open the final frame. Peter stopped Gill’s spinning backhander from the slot, Strum had a rare misfire on a hard E-W pass across the goalmouth from Casella, and Tony came up empty with another deke after taking another stretch pass from Anil. At the other end, Marty made a nice trapper snag on Scott Cross’ slapper from the bench area. Strum made a slippery drive from the outside into the slot but Peter got enough glove on the spinning shot to steer it away. Matt retrieved the ball and slipped a pass across to Tony, but Peter made another big save on the play to keep the boys in blue ahead by two. After a long 2-on-2 battle in front of Marty, Cooper gained possession and scored with a shot past the blocker to make it 4-1 with less than eight to play. Gill scored with a high slapper on the next shift and Dwayne took a timeout. Nine seconds later, DB stole the ball in the corner, drove to the net, and slipped a pass across to Cooper for a tap-in goal. Strum tried a backhand wraparound and slid the ball just wide of the far post. Cross cleaned up a rebound with two minutes left to make it 6-2 and put it out of reach. Gill circled out of the corner a few seconds later and picked the top corner, Cooper cleaned up Greg’s rebound in the final minute after a 2-on-1 break, and the Blizzard pocketed a 7-3 win in a game that seemed much closer than the score indicates. 

The final bout on the card pitted the Cyclones against the Tornados and both teams had a full turnout. Shannon Thoms made a great diagonal pass from the corner to Captain Sean Fitzgerald but his shot rattled around between the goalie pads and Mike DeGrace covered the ball. Kevin Shute put the Tors ahead with a shot that slipped through the five-hole, and Chris Sampson tipped Brandon Kane’s point shot past Jason Boudreau on the next shift to make it 2-0 orange. After six scoreless minutes, Nate Atwell was called for a “new rule” high-sticking penalty and Woody Gouthro scored with a long slapper through traffic to cut the deficit in half. After trading chances for five scoreless minutes, Sampson took a nice touch-pass from Kyle Bayers and beat Jason five-hole for his second goal. Jason turned aside Shute on a breakaway, but he had no chance when Kyle flipped an elevated pass to Chris on a breakout play. Sampson swatted it in out the mid-air just before it landed and buried it upstairs, completing his hat trick with under thirty seconds left. Matt Grove made a slick dangle to slip past Brandon and he circled thew net, slipping a pass to Adam Healy on the doorstep for a goal that cut the deficit to 4-2 before the intermission. 

Shannon was denied on a forehand wraparound, Mike stopped Woody’s high slapper, Healy had three whacks at a rebound on the doorstep but couldn’t bury it, and Mike stopped Shannon when Woody sent him in on a clear break. Jordan Castilloux circled out of the corner on his forehand and wired a hard shot but Mike got his trapper on it and the ball veered wide into the corner. Chances galore for the Cyclones, but they just couldn’t find a way to get that first goal and spark a rally. Steve Jazic potted a rebound for the Tors after seven scoreless minutes. Jordan had a chance to answer on a breakaway but ripped his shot just over the crossbar. When Kyle scored with a shot past a screen after the ball had deflected right to him in the slot, the lead was 6-2 with eleven minutes left. Moments later, Brandon held off Woody as he drove up the middle and scored with a wicked wrister. Woody dangled past Captain Mitch Ellis on his way to the front but he couldn’t convert on the backhand. Mike shoved the rebound out wide and Mitch found the mark with a blistering slapper from deep in his own zone to make it 8-2 Tornados with seven minutes remaining. Same shift, Kyle’s centering pass from behind the Cyclones net hit Fitzy on the foot and deflected past Jason into the net. Grove nearly scored with a stick-between-his-own-legs maneuver but the shot clipped a defender’s glove and stayed out. Jordan took a drop pass from Shannon and rifled a point shot just under the crossbar for a highlight-reel goal, and Tommy Winsor scored on a stretch pass from Jordan just ten seconds later to wrap up the scoring. The 9-4 Tornados win created a logjam in the standings, leaving the Cyclones (3-4-1) in 3rd spot with 9 points and three other teams tied at 8 points with identical 3-5-0 records.