Week 20 hosted three exciting games to end off the regular season. The Lake Raiders (13-6-0). vs. Bulldogs (9-8-2); the Saints (6-12-1) vs. the Mustangs (8-9-2); Kings (8-8-3) vs. the Wolves (7-8-4).
Game 1 (Lake Raiders vs. Bulldogs) was a preview of the upcoming playoff semi-final series and it didn’t disappoint. The Bulldogs, though riding a six-game losing streak, came ready to play and the “President’s Cup” winning Lake Raiders didn’t want to lose their momentum heading into the playoffs. Period One began with both squads playing tight and not wanting to give up the first mistake. At 3:45 of the first, the Bulldogs Jerry Mariano picked up a loose ball just outside the hash marks and fired a rocket past a surprised Lake Raiders keeper Aziza Abdullah, and the Dogs were up 1-0. The remainder of the frame was a tight checking affair with each side not willing to give another inch. Period Two saw the play start to open up and it only took until the 3:15 mark when the Lake Raiders Jeremy Schofield took a tick, tack, tow pass from Erin Vassilakos / Sean Celsie and beat Bulldogs Mohit Sharma drawing both sides even at 1-1. A quick pair of Bulldog goals at 5:05 (Meghan Hines from Scott Allen) and at 5:27 (Jerry Mariano / unassisted) put the Dogs out in front by two (3-1). It took until the final minute of the second frame for anyone else to connect. At 14:13 the Lake Raiders Jeremy Schofield found the back of the net for his second marker of the game and drew the Raiders within one (3-2). Period Three started with some jump at 2:15 the Lake Raiders Sean Celsie took a Jeremy Schofield pass in front of the net and deflected it past Bulldogs keeper Sharma and the sides were even at 3-3. The Bulldogs weren’t to be denied and fifty seconds later (3:05) Jerry Mariano took a Scott Allen feed, and his third of the game and the Dogs were back in front (4-3). It took another ten minutes before either side would crack and it was the Lake Raiders that broke through when a lead pass from Jeremy Schofield set Erin Vassilakos free with only one man back and at 13:00 both sides were even again (4-4). A short fifteen seconds later the Raiders took their first lead of the game and what was to be the winning goal when Schofield found Vassilakos in from of the Bulldogs net and she slid it past keeper Sharma. Final 5-4 Lake Raiders over Bulldogs.
Game 2 (Saints vs. Mustangs) saw the last place Saints trying to play the spoiler against the surging Mustangs. Period One was all Mustangs with a hat-trick from Roberto Monteiro (at 2:30 from Elyas Abdullah / at 11:15 from Abdullah and at 13:40 unassisted) and the Saints were reeling (3-0). Period Two saw the Mustang surge continue with a pair of goals from Nicole Neeson the first at 1:25 from Sergio Correia and the second at 5:30 from Roberto Monteiro and the Ponies were up 5-0. It took another five minutes (10:35) before the Saints would show any life when a solo effort by Brandy Edwards finally got the Saints on the board (5-1). Unfortunately, for the Saints, the Mustangs weren’t finished yet. At 14:00 another solo effort by Roberto Monteiro, his fourth of the game, put the Mustangs up 6-1. Period Three saw the Saints try to muster a rally with a Jennifer Raycraft goal at 3:30 from Matthew Cockburn and a Brandy Edwards goal at 10:50 from Jennifer Raycraft and the Saints had cut the margin to three (6-3). The rally was short lived though when Monteiro took a Elyas Abdullah pass (12:10) and notched his fifth of the game. Final 7-3 Mustangs over Saints.
Game 3 (Kings vs. Wolves) with many playoff implications on the line, the do or die Wolves go head to head with playoff-bound Kings. Period One saw the must win Wolves playing very tight while the carefree Kings were playing loose and easy. Just past the two-minute mark (2:25) a solo effort from Kings Isaac Vescio put the “Crown Keepers” up by one (1-0). The remainder of the opening frame saw the Wolves pressing but none of their efforts could connect. Period Two began with a quick push from the Wolves Saverio Romano at 1:20 (unassisted) paid off and the sides were even (1-1). Any thoughts of Wolves success was soon quashed when the Kings Isaac Vescio notched his second & third markers of the game assisted by David Donnelly at 6:50 and 9:50 and the Wolves had no response with the frame ending 3-1 Kings. Period Three wasn’t any brighter for the Wolves and their playoff hopes, only a single marker found the back of the net and again it was the Kings Isaac Vescio with another solo effort at 5:50. Time quickly ran out and so did the Wolves playoff hopes. Final 4-1 Kings over Wolves.
On April 9th, 2016, the playoffs begins with semi-finals week 1 as the 2nd place Kings take on the 3rd place Mustangs and the 1st place Lake Raiders take on the 4th place Bulldogs at Sunnyview Public School. Come watch the TPWHL next Saturday from 12:30 to 3:30 PM.