Week 19 hosted three exciting games. the Mustangs (7-9-2) vs. Bulldogs (9-7-2); the Saints (6-11-1) vs. Kings (7-8-3); vs. the Wolves (6-8-4) vs. the Lake Raiders (13-5-0).
Game 1 (Mustangs vs. Bulldogs) saw the free falling Bulldogs, hoping to stop the hemorrhaging and end a five-game losing skid, up against the fourth place Mustangs who are battling to hang onto the final playoff spot. Period One began with the Bulldogs down two key players (Meghan Hines & Franco Paonessa) and the Mustangs took a quick advantage. A pair of solo efforts from Nicole Neeson at 2:14 and 5:50 had the Mustangs up a deuce and the Bulldogs without any response. The second half of the frame wasn’t any brighter for the B-Dogs another pair of goals from the Mustangs (Roberto Monteiro / unassisted at 9:42 & Monteiro again at 13:48 from Istok Vidmar & Muntha Ahmed) and the first ended with the Mustangs up 4-0. Period Two was a much tighter affair and both sides exchanged some quality chances but it took until 12:55 before someone would break through and find the twine. Unfortunately, for the Bulldogs it was the Mustangs doing the damage again (Monteiro / Ahmed) and the Ponies were running away (5-0 Mustangs). Period Three had the Mustangs secure two more markers before the romp was over. Nicole Neeson (unassisted) at 2:00 and Muntha Ahmed (unassisted) with an empty netter at 14:46. Final 7-0 Mustangs over Bulldogs.
Game 2 (Saints vs. Kings) had the last place Saints, playing to stave off elimination, go up against the third-place Kings, who themselves needed a win to stay in the tight race for the third and fourth playoff spots. The first two frames saw both sides, obviously feeling the importance of this game, playing with much apprehension and no one wanting to make that first costly mistake. Neither side mustered any quality offensive chances as the defense for both sides stood tall and Periods One & Two remained scoreless. Period Three saw the Kings come out flying and the Saints were caught with their guard down. A nice lead pass from Kings David Donnelly set up Isaac Vescio to tap one past Saints keeper Tracey Taylor at 1:20 and the Kings were up 1-0. The Saints spent the next thirteen minutes trying to muster any offense they could to beat Kings keeper Leo Xu but Xu wasn’t about to break. With just 21 seconds left to go, a Mike Iacovone pass to David Donnelly quickly tipped over to a streaking Isaac Vescio, caught all the Saints looking and Vescio secured his second goal of the game and the win for the Kings. Final 2-0 Kings over Saints. Saints are officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Game 3 (Lake Raiders vs. Wolves) had the fifth place Wolves, just two points behind the fourth and final playoff spot holding Mustangs, hoping to stave off elimination and stay in playoff contention, go up against the first place and 2015/2016 President’s Cup winning Lake Raiders. This one was a rough and tumble physical affair with both sides bumping and banging right from the opening whistle. Period One saw the Wolves come out with a snarl and quickly took the first bite. The Wolves Mitchell Stark took a lead pass from Saverio Romano and danced past Lake Raiders D-Man Brendon Myrie and beating keeper Neil Mercer (1:30) , Wolves up 1-0. It took another six minutes for the Lake Raiders to pull even, when the Raiders leading scorer Jeremy Schofield, intercepted an errant Wolves pass at the top of the circle and blasted one past Wolves keeper Lori Edwards. Period One ended with both sides even 1-1. Period Two began the same as the first with the Wolves showing some quick jump. Just forty seconds into the frame (00:40) Mitchell Stark found Saverio Romano all alone in front of the Raiders net and he made it count 2-1 Wolves. The Lake Raiders weren’t about to lie down and at 4:06 another solo effort from Jeremy Schofield brought both sides back to even 2-2. The Wolves stepped up once again, showing their will to win when Matt Vocino (unassisted) took an end to end rush and slid one past Lake Raiders keeper Neil Mercer at 10:57 and the Wolves were on top again at 3-2. Period Three saw the Lake Raiders take the quick jump this time with another solo effort from Jeremy Schofield just 35 seconds into the period and things were all tied up again at 3-3. A costly “Dangerous Driving’ penalty to Lake Raider Schofield at 1:39 gave the Wolves the man advantage and it didn’t take long for Saverio Romano to make them pay. A solo effort at 2:15 and the Wolves were on top again and had the Raiders by the throat. Romano and his mates, with the smell of blood in the air, weren’t about to hold back and at 7:59 Romano notch his third of the game (unassisted) and the Raiders were down a deuce 5-3 Wolves. At 12:59 another costly “Dangerous Driving” penalty put the Lake Raiders down a man and their top scorer for the final two minutes of the game and that was the end of the story. Final 5-3 Wolves over Lake Raiders.
On April 2nd 2016, the Lake Raiders take on the Bulldogs; the Saints take on the Mustangs and the Kings take on the Wolves at Sunnyview Public School. Come watch the TPWHL next Saturday from 12:30 to 3:30 PM.