Week 17 hosted three exciting games; the Saints (5-10-1) vs. Bulldogs (9-5-2), the Mustangs (6-8-2) vs. Wolves (4-8-4), and the Kings (6-7-3) vs. the Lake Raiders (12-4-0).
Game 1 (Saints vs. Bulldogs) saw the Saints, who haven’t lost in their last three games, fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the Bulldogs, with their playoff berth secured, struggle to break a three-game losing streak. Period One began with the Saints showing all the energy and the Bulldogs apparently struggling to find the mojo they displayed in the first half of the season. It only took 2 minutes for the Saint’s Braden Martz to deflect a cross-crease pass from Brandy Edwards and the “Halo Holders” were up 1-0. It was only some stalwart defensive efforts from the Bulldogs core that kept the margin at one for the remainder of the period. Period Two saw the Saints keep coming, and they finally broke through the B-Dogs defense again at the 4:40 mark when a solo effort by Jennifer Raycraft put the Saints up 2-0. Another Saints solo effort, while short-handed, by Brandy Edwards at 9:33 had the Bulldogs looking at a three-goal margin, but they still couldn’t find the trigger on any offensive efforts. Period Three started with the B-Dogs finding their legs, and a couple of markers (Jerry Mariano / Franco Paonessa at 2:01 and Franco Paonessa / Jerry Mariano at 7:10) had the margin down to one (3-2) and the Saints reeling. The Saints regrouped at this point, and with four unanswered markers (Brandy Edwards / Braden Martz at 11:01; Brandy Edwards / unassisted at 12:38; Jennifer Raycraft / unassisted at 13:00 & Braden Martz / unassisted at 14:42) had the Bulldogs down and out. Final 7-2 Saints over Bulldogs.
Game 2 (Mustangs vs. Wolves) saw the fourth place Mustangs, minus their key offensive force (Roberto Monteiro), try to hold onto the final playoff spot while the fifth-place Kings battle to keep their playoff hopes alive. Period One was all Wolves with a trio of goals from “The Pack”. Solo efforts from Saverio Romano at 5:40 and 6:23 and a Romano pass to Matt Vocino tipped past Mustang’s keeper Brad Gordon had the Wolves up 3-0 at the end of the frame. Period Two, in turn, was all Mustangs. A pair of goals from “The Pony’s” Muntha Ahmed (1:15 assisted by Sergio Correia and 8:14 assisted by Istok Vidmar) had the margin down to one (3-2 Wolves) by the time the 2nd buzzer rang. Period Three was a back and forth affair. The Wolves started it off with an unassisted effort by Saverio Romano at 3:01. In less than a minute (3:50) the Mustangs Nicole Neeson (Muntha Ahmed) matched the Wolves effort and kept the difference to one (4-3 Wolves). The Mustangs were the next team to strike when Muntha Ahmed (unassisted) at 5:40 hammered home his third marker of the game and both sides were even 4-4. Back stormed the Wolves when Romano took a Mitchell Stark pass and made it count 5-4 Wolves. Ten seconds later (7:10) the mighty Muntha Ahmed took a Nicole Neeson pass and deposited his fourth goal of the game, and both sides were even again (5-5). At this point, it was anybody’s game, and the play went back and forth with each side trying to win the prize. With the scoreboard ticking down to 14:26 the Wolves Saverio Romano put the team on his shoulders and secured his fifth goal of the game and the win for “The Pack”. Final 6-5 Wolves over Mustangs.
Game 3 (Kings vs. Lake Raiders) saw the third place Kings, who were leading the season series two games to one, hope to take the advantage again and show the league-leading Lake Raiders they could be beaten. Period One was a high-spirited affair with both sides exchanging chances through the ten-minute mark (10:15) when the Kings Mike Iacovone took a pass in the slot from Isaac Vescio, and the Lake Raiders were down one. Period Two had the “Keepers of the Braided Baskets” Leo Xu (Kings) and Neil Mercer (Lake Raiders) stand on their heads and kept the period scoreless. Period Three again saw strong defensive efforts from both sides and though the Lake Raiders had some quality chances the Kings defensive core and keeper Leo Xu turned by all their efforts. With only a minute remaining (14:00), a small defensive lapse by the L-Raiders and the Kings Isaac Vescio (unassisted) pounced and slid another by keeper Neil Mercer. The Kings win the game 2-0 and the season series 3-1. Final 2-0 Kings over Lake Raiders.
On March 12th, 2016, the Lake Raiders take on the Saints; the Kings take on the Mustangs, and the Bulldogs take on the Wolves at Sunnyview Public School. Watch TPWHL games next Saturday from 12:30 to 3:30 PM.