It is after a summer of absence that I take up the pen again to talk about the results of the first semi-finals that led to the first inter-divisional Final finalists. After a tumultuous summer and a couple adjustments made, we nevertheless got good hockey on Sunday and Monday.
In Montreal, Patrick Blais' Rhinos and Dany Beauregard's Torpedoes competed for the domination of the metropolitan division in an epic game. While most Torpedoes players were at the arena well ahead of their game, several Rhinos players arrived at the last minute, contrasting with their captain who was already present more than an hour before the game.
The game started as you would expect in a situation like that, the Torpedoes imposing a frantic rhythm from the first presence on the ice, while the men in red seemed still a little sleepy... the men in white and orange took the lead thanks to a collective effort and a well-established team work, and after a little more than half of the game, the board showed 5-1 in favor of the Torpedoes.
Yet, in hockey, we know that we must never give up and that the momentum can change very quickly. The Rhinos regrouped, and began to play as they could. One goal after another, they sowed doubt in the Torpedoes' mindsand a few minutes before the end of the game, the score was 5-4... With a little more time, maybe we could have witnessed a comeback worthy of the Meteors from the previous winter season! At the buzzer, the Torpedoes finally were able to celebrate their presence in the Final.
On the south shore, the semi-final game was less intriguing, as the Avengers of Rémy Babin lost in a heartbreaking defeat before hungry Meteors and a collective game that worked better that night. The men in blue were favorites however, but its Peter Morris' mens that will face the Torpedoes at Notre-Dame college arena next Sunday. The bets are open! Come and watch the game, while enjoying some good cold beers, and eating some sumptuous hot dogs and hamburgers! An always pleasant atmosphere and a family activity that will help Sun Youth Food Bank.
THE LOGIQUE ONCE AGAIN RESPECTED
While the atmosphere was more fun and joyful for the teams eliminated, the latter participating in games without any consequence, it was quite different for the awaited duel of the evening as the Rhinos faced the champions of the regular season, the Torpedoes. In an intense and fast-pace game, the Torpedoes struggle but managed to held the lead after blowing a 4-goal lead, and will face the Meteores in our grand finale next Sunday. The Meteores fought hard against the Avengers in what one might call an upset, and they’ll be ready to show their toughness in less than a week. But first, a little "aperitif" to start the evening, as the Loggers faced the Vipers.
Consolation Match - Loggers vs Vipers - 17h30
To make things a bit "funky", the Loggers decided during the week that they were going to do a random lottery before the match to decide who will play where, which saw former recipient of the Norris Trophy Raymond Hugues and defender Gene Bouchard center both lines, while offensive-forwards Stephen Rendle and Simon Lavery-Lebeau joined the D to practice their backward skating! “Ray” quickly realized that winning a face-off was not as easy as making a tape-to-tape pass out of his zone, he who according to our statisticians finished the evening with 2 wins against 53 lost from the face-off dots. It was therefore in a less serious atmosphere than usual that both teams exchanged a couple of goals. A new substitute in the league, it was a day of celebration for Felix Dam Bonneau, as number 13 scored a hat trick for the Loggers (congrats and happy birthday Felix!)! Louis-Nicolas Veilleux also found the back of the net three times, FINALLY finding his scoring touch, whom unfortunately disappeared when it counted.. (if you read this Louis, I’m kidding! Ahah). On the Vipers’ end, Bill Caroll animated without surprise the attack of the Vipers, scoring not one, but two hat-tricks (yes, that’s 6 goals). In the victory, the friendly “John Too Mutch” collected 2 goals and 4 assists. Honorable mention to the Vipers’ captain, Gio Pigafetta, who missed by an inch what would have been the goal of the night, a between the legs à-la-Hertl in the third period. Rumor as it that the Loggers captain Thibault Varin (hi!) wished he scored, because, well, who doesn’t like pretty goals? Result of the game: lots of fun! (10-6 Vipers)
Montreal Finale (Semi-final) - Rhinos vs Torpedoes - 7h00
Placed strategically at a prime-time spot, the final was going to be a bit more serious than the previous game, while the 4 offensive lines were going to clash for 3 lengthy periods, back with defensive duos who’s been nothing short of impressive since the beginning of the summer. It took almost 10 minutes before we saw the first goals, the fiery Jason Richer scoring two goals in a matter of minutes. The Torpedoes, unfortunately for the Rhinos, were not done yet, as they were going to continue their demolition in the second period, scoring 3 goals, thus two nets from # 7 Marc Berthiaume. Clearly unsatisfied of the level of concentration and effort of his team, the Rhinos captain Patrick Blais called a time-out to shake his team up. The time-out seemed to work as we were about to witness a scary comeback in the third period, in which Pierre-Luc Aspirot took care of the Rhinos’ attack. The latter scored 2 goals for his team, while Joel Marceau also participated with an opportune goal. With a 5-4 mark, the Rhinos decided to go all out and pulled their goalkeeper with less than a minute to play. Buzzing relentlessly around the net, the only thing the Rhinos were missing was time, as they saw their opponent win the game. Following their victory, the Torpedoes will represent the Montreal division in our grand finale next Sunday, while the Meteores will be in town to represent the South Shore. Will the Torpedoes be able to keep up the momentum and win the summer championship? To be continued!
Consolation Match - Shamrocks vs. Hackers - 8:30 pm
In our second consolation match of the night, the Shamrocks finished their season by facing the Hackers. Although without a stake, Marc-André St-Hilaire seemed so motivated and focused for his game that he arrived at the arena at 5 pm. That, or maybe he was simply lost and clueless on the time his team was playing, I’ll let you take a guess. On the ice, after letting the Shamrocks take the lead through captain Maxence Hilleret, the Hackers fought back with two goals and returned to the locker room with a 2-1 lead. Pretty uncommon for a defender, # 9 from the Greens scored his second of the game in the second period to equal the mark, unassisted once again (hats off, Max.). Following a smooth second period, 50/50 winner Sean Sivilay managed to give his Hackers the victory in the third, where he scored two goals in 5 minutes, the second being the winning goal. Final result: 5-3 Hackers.
On this happy note, I give you rendez-vous in a few days for the final showdown between the Torpedoes and the Meteroes… you don’t want to miss it !
See ya ;)