In hockey, it's not over till it's over!

The popular saying '' It is not over till it's over '' makes sense in the playoffs. Last night was no exception. Of the six teams in the race to the semifinals, only the Vipers were assured of participation in the next stage.

The other teams had to get the win to secure a place in the semifinals. There was electricity in the air, the atmosphere was charged with intensity and we were treated with some good shows.

The first part of the evening pitted the Tomahawks to Czechers. The former could get second place with a victory, and Czechers absolutely had to win the game to qualify. The men in grey began the game with the energy of despair, quickly taking the lead 4-1. However, they could not count the Reds beaten! Their work in the offensive zone made the Czechers take several penalties; the had to defend themselves short by two men on two occasions, allowing Michael Wees team to come back in the game. George Athanasopoulos, the goaltender of the greys, has made some very fine stops to frustrate the opponent, and they saw bad luck go after them in the second half of the third period. Finally, the Czechers managed to put on an insurance goal that restored their confidence and helped resist the enemy for the rest of the game. With this victory, it was the Czechers who appropriated a place in the semi-finals, and the Tomahawks had to wait for the outcome of the other matches and hope that the Shamrocks loose to their game to the Avengers.

This match between the Shamrocks and the Avengers was expected because it opposed a team in the process of finding back its identity in time to avoid elimination and the champions of the regular season, who experienced some difficulties in the series. Both teams played with concentration and it was obvious that neither of them wanted to make the first mistake. It took almost a full period to see the first goal be scored. At the end of the game, the fans in the stands were on the edge of their seats because like in a movie scenario, we would need a shootout to determine the fate of the Shamrocks. One after another, the players of both teams rushed against the goaltenders but failed to score. It was not until the sixth round that the Shamrocks's shooter finally managed to fool Claude Laroche and thus give both victory to his team and a likely participation in the semifinals. We then had to wait to know if the Loggers, who faced the Vipers in the last match of the evening, could also obtain victory and thereby make differential calculations necessary to find our four semifinalists.

The last game of the evening pitted the powerful Vipers to Eric Champagne's Loggers, who had to count once again on the absence of the regular season's best scorer. He was replaced yesterday by an excellent player, but cohesion is always more difficult to obtain when the players do not know each other. This is what was reflected the most during the game; the Loggers didn't managed often enough to organize group attacks. Despite several good plays and intensity of every moment, the men in black have failed to break the collective game of the Vipers who got their fourth win in five games!

After calculation, it turns out that the Vipers, Czechers, Avengers and Shamrocks are the teams who will participate in the semifinals next week. The Vipers will face the Shamrocks and Czechers will go against the Avengers. Good luck to all teams. We must not forget also to highlight the effort, determination and team spirit of both eliminated teams, which remained in the race until the last second!

See you next week!!

Jacob Poliquin