Week 15 hosted three exciting games. the Kings (5-6-3) vs. the Wolves (3-8-3); the Lake Raiders (10-4-0) vs. the Bulldogs (9-3-2); the Saints (4-10-0) vs. the Mustangs (6-6-2).
Game 1 (Kings vs. Wolves) As crunch time in the TPWHL quickly approaches the Kings battle to hold on to the final Playoff spot while the Wolves fight to move up into Playoff contention. Period One saw the Wolves Saverio Romano, who also has the league scoring title in his sights, came out flying with a pair of unanswered goals (one solo effort & one assisted by Mitchell Stark). This set the Kings back on their heels and they couldn’t muster a response by the time the first buzzer rang. Period Two began in the same fashion as the first with Saverio Romano taking a lead pass from Matt Vocino at the five minute mark and the Wolves were up 3-0. This third marker seemed to finally wake the Kings up and then Isaac Vescio took a corner pass from Mike Iacovone and the difference was down to a deuce. A little more than two minutes later the Kings Isaac Vescio took an end to end rush and popped another behind Wolves keeper Lori Edwards and only a single marker separated the two rivals. With only a couple of minutes left in the second frame the Wolves Romano let a laser fly from the top of the hash marks that handcuffed Kings keeper Leo Xu and things were again looking grim for the Royal Family. Period Three was all Wolves with a trio of markers from Sav Romano and a single from Matt Vocino and the Kings were done. Final 8-2 Wolves over Kings.
Game 2 (Lake Raiders vs. Bulldogs) This match-up was to determine the solo ownership of first place in the TPWHL and clinch a playoff spot for this year’s MD Cup. Period One was a tight checking rough and tumble affair with both sides battling to exchange chances. It took almost to the mid-way mark of the frame for either side to inflict any damage. At 9:35 of the first the Bulldogs Jerry Mariano, from deep in the corner, found Christine Pacheco who was left alone in front of Lake Raiders keeper Neil Mercer and the B-Dogs were up 1-0. Period Two saw more of the same close checking battles as in the first with both sides pushing hard to find the tangled twine. At 6:20 of the second a nice little touch pass from the L-Raiders Sean Celsie set scoring leader Jeremy Schofield loose and in a blink the teams were tied at 1-1. Period Three saw both sides run into a little penalty trouble as this rivalry continued to show its true colours. A solo effort at 6:01 by Bulldogs Franco Paonessa put Dogs back in front (2-1). The Lake Raiders weren’t going to sit back and within a minute (6:50) an unassisted effort by Jeremy Schofield brought both sides even again (2-2). At 9:45 The Lake Raiders took their first lead of the game when Erin Vassilakos fed a cross crease pass to Schofield and the Raiders were up 3-2. It was now the Bulldogs turn and they weren’t going to sit back either. A charging call to Lake Raiders Jeremy Schofield with less than five minutes left in the game gave the Bulldogs the man advantage and the combo of Mariano / Paonessa quickly scored the tying marker. The intense pressure from both sides continued until the thirteenth minute when the Bulldogs Jerry Mariano took a Charging call that put him in the sin bin. The Lake Raiders then had their turn with the extra man and they too took quick advantage. At 13:29 Schofield found Erin Vassilakos in front of Bulldogs keeper Mohit Sharma and she made no mistakes putting the Raiders back in the lead (4-3). The Lake Raiders fended off the final 90 seconds of pressure from the Bulldogs and they are the first team to clinch a playoff spot and at least for now hold sole possession of First Place. Final 4-3 Lake Raiders over Bulldogs.
Game 3 (Saints vs. Mustangs) saw the cellar dwelling Saints, sitting just five points out of a Playoff spot, take on the third place Mustangs hoping to gain some ground on the front running Bulldogs & Lake Raiders. The First Period started off with a bang. The Mustangs Roberto Monteiro took only 48 seconds to notch a solo effort and the Ponies were up 1-0. This early action seemed to shock both sides and play tightened up considerably and the remainder of the frame stayed scoreless. Period Two had the Saints start to push the play and a nice tick, tack, toe effort from Braden Martz to Brandy Edwards to Jennifer Raycraft at 3:55 had the Saints draw even with the Mustangs. A solo effort by Saints Isha Joshi at 8:50 had the holy folks up by one (2-1). As the period started to wind down (12:21) the Mustangs Roberto Monteiro (from Nicole Neeson / Sergio Correia) slid one pass Saints keeper Tracey Taylor and the teams were back to even (2-2). Period Three proved to be all Saints with two markers from Brandy Edwards (7:09 & 13:29 unassisted) and another from Jennifer Raycraft (Brandy Edwards) at 9:27 put the ponies back in the stable. Final 5-2 Saints over Mustangs.
On February 27th 2016, the Kings take on the Bulldogs; the Lake Raiders take on the Mustangs and the Saints take on the Wolves at Sunnyview Public School. Come watch the TPWHL next Saturday from 12:30 to 3:30 PM.