The final three games of the season are basically playoff games. Last week did nothing to sort out who is going to obtain the coveted first round playoff bye and the fight for the last two playoff spots. These next three games are the ones that matter. When you find out who steps up and who steps off.
12:00PM EYES vs VACUUMS
If Eyes doesn’t win today, they are in real danger of losing the final playoff spot. One which they are barely hanging on to. You would think that would be enough to get them amped for this one. However, Vacuums is also playing for something. They have clinched a playoff spot but want more. They want the first round bye but right now are on the outside looking in.
Notwithstanding the above, the game started fairly lethargically. The benches were short and the pace of play was slow.
One of the few bright spots in the first half was the play Gopi Bansal. He is known to be strong defender, one who is tough to beat but we enjoyed seeing another dimension of his play. He would not only stop Eyes’ breakouts or attacks, he was carrying the ball with speed, taking his space and gaining the opposition zone with ease. We hope to see more of this from the young defender.
Back to the game. Vacuums dominated the first half. Eyes was playing like it still had gid in its eyes and Vacuums took a deserved lead just two minutes into the game when rookie Balraj Lally got the ball near the half boards near the top left of the faceoff circle, cut in and put it high short side by the shoulder of Raj Grewal.
They made it 2-0 on the PP. Raj Virdi and Bob Banga passed it around near the perimeter before taking a shot on goal. The rebound came to Armanjot Gill who was providing a screen. He made no mistake banging home the rebound. It was a bit of shock how effortlessly he was able to obtain prime body position near the crease.
Eyes still had not woken up and you could hear their goalie yelling at them from his net, urging them to get engaged. 2-0 Vacuums at half.
Whatever was discussed at halftime on the Eyes’ bench, worked. They were a different team in the 2nd half and coupled with fatigue setting in for Vacuums, we saw the momentum flip.
Amit Chavda took matters into his own hands when he scored on a great individual effort. He received the ball near the side of the net on the right side. He traveled quite a distance trying to shake off his defender. He finally got loose, button hooked towards the slot area and he made it count by snapping one past the goaltender.
The final 10 minutes of the game were controlled by Eyes. Gurp Bhangal had two glorious chances to tie the game but goalie Gopi Rai was equal to the task.
Gurp finally solved him with three minutes left. He took a feed from Randy Jhattu and wristed it past the goalie. 2-2. Eyes’ bench erupted in jubilation.
All for not. Rookie Balraj Lally played the spoiler role perfectly. 30 seconds left he fore checked his defender into a turnover behind the net. He walked in towards the front of the net, shrugged off many sticks and a body and put it upstairs. Wow. What a way to end it. Heartbreak for Eyes as they get zero points.
1:00PM ACH vs Pizza 38
If Pizza 38 doesn’t win today, they are basically eliminated. ACH is reeling at the worst possible time. They want to get back on track and earn a bye.
Both teams had a full bench. Pizza 38 came out flying. They applied waves of pressure and ACH can thank Shiv Puri for keeping the door closed. In fact, it took a PP for Pizza 38 to score on Shiv despite total control of the game.
The goal was scored by Kanwar Sandhu. The 5-3 PP had just expired. Kanwar and Sarman Mallhi were passing the ball back and forth from the point and the left side of the umbrella. When Kanwar found enough room, he rifled a one-timer through the traffic into the net. 1-0.
First half ended 1-0.
Sunny Matharu tied the game 4 minutes into the 2nd. In his typical composed self, he had the ball at the top of the left faceoff circle. Patiently waited till he saw an opening and snapped one past Joe Sandhu.
This devastated the Pizza 38 bench for only a moment. It was a brief body shot which was answered with a combo of their own. Just 15 seconds after Sunny had tied it, a turnover popped out in front into the slot area, it was pounced on by Gurinder Sanghera who shelfed it on Shiv Puri 2-1. Solid celebration as well.
3 minutes after that they scored another one on the counter-attack 2 v 1. Sanjay Sarkar showed good patience on the break, waited till the defender committed, maneuvered around him and found Kanwar across the crease. Kanwar hit first time into the open cage. 3-1.
Kanwar had himself a game. He was instrumental in the win and his final goal of the game best personified his contribution in the win. He was waiting for a breakout pass from the his defender between his blue line and half, the pass came, the defender covering him pinched and committed himself to breaking up the pass, Kanny chipped it over his stick, went the other way on a 2v1, made a great pass to Mani Sira who gave it back to Kanny for the one time into the net. 4-1.
ACH scored one in the last five minutes. It was a nice shot by Sandeip Khanna. Post and in. Goalie could do nothing about it.
Huge win for Pizza 38. This team is playing much better hockey.
2:00PM Fancy vs All India
Every game is must win for All India who is last in the standings. They were in a good position to win today vs a depleted Fancy team.
One player who wasn’t missing for Fancy was Anoop Sahota. His presence was felt. In fact him and his counterpart Jesse Virdee both had exceptional games.
The first goal of the game came from Jim Sidhu on the PP. He had the ball on the left side, took a weak snap shot on net probably hoping to cause a rebound but, it handcuffed the goalie and went in. This was one that 99 times of 100 Jaz would save.
All India’s first goal was also a weird one. Sandeep Gill took a seemingly harmless shot from the blue line which floated to the goalie. It wasn’t cleanly caught by the tender and went in. 1-1.
Fancy scored again to make it 2-1 and this one was a bullet. Greg Gandoke took a pass from Anoop Sahota near the left circle and cranked it. Did not know that was in the power forward’s arsenal. Good shot.
Jesse Virdee tied it up ten minutes into the second half. He walked around a forward and sniped it blocker side.
Not to be outdone, Anoop Sahota did the same thing, scored the same goal just 40 seconds after. His went top shelf. 3-2 Fancy.
This was a see saw tilt and the most exciting game of the day. Jesse Sohi finally got the monkey off his back when he scored 2 minutes after Anoop’s goal. Kulshaan Kahlon ran down the wing and dropped it to Jso. He took a clapper which tied it up.
Jim Sidhu scored another PP goal with 5 minutes left. It was a mad scramble in front before he put it away.
2:44 left Rajan Dhami saved the season after Sandeep Gill did well to track down a loose ball and get it on net. Dhami scored on the rebound.
Overtime did nothing for either team. Shootout was necessary.
Amiraj Jawanda, Harjot Sangha, Sahil Sharma and Rohin Judge shot for Fancy. Only Rohin scored.
Rajan Dhami, Jesse Sohi, Navi Grewal and Jesse Virdee shot for All India. Both Navi and Virdee scored.
Big two points for All India.
3:00PM Henry Singer vs Gallo & Company
First place Henry Singer took on 5th place Gallo. Gallo is coming off a big win against Pizza 38. A win today could significantly increase their hope of retaining a playoff berth. HS wants the bye.
The first goal of the game was scored 4 minutes in. Jas Sadhra picked off a defender to defender pass and scored on the breakaway.
A few minutes after, Gallo got themselves into some penalty trouble. HS converted. Akash Mehta passed it cross ice to Gary Dhillon on a 2 v 1 break. Gary Dhillon put it upstairs easy breazy.
After that it was all Gallo. It was surprising who easily the Gallo defenders handled HS’ skilled forwards. HS was no match on this day for the bigger, stronger Gallo. It showed in most of the 50/50 battles and even the Gallo forwards did well to contain the offensive defenceman Jiven Gill. In fact, they forced the HS defenders into many unexpected errors with their pursuit.
Gallo formally took the lead off of an offensive zone faceoff won by Ram Soos. Ram found Jason Heer near the right faceoff circle. Jason took a slap shot which found twine short side. 2-1 Gallo with 5 minutes left.
The game was iced by Jas Sadhra. He ran onto a great chip pass from Nav Dhillon as HS defender’s were pushed up to get that tying goal. On the breakaway Jas went backhand five hole. 3-1. Game over.
With the win, Gallo has all but clinched a playoff spot. A lot has to happen for them to miss out on the playoffs. They can formally clinch by obtaining a single point in the next games.