Guest Commentary by Sunny “Big Man” Deol”:
Well we are here folks. The midway point of the season has arrived, the back to backs are on the horizon. Week 9 in the PBHL was a big one. No teams wanting to give up points heading into the tough July schedule. And it showed on the court, did it ever. Let get straight to it.
Game 1: All India(1st) vs Eyes on 34(7th)
Week 9 started off with Eyes facing off with All India. Eyes was looking to avoid losing 4 straight. To say this game started off the PBHL week with bang is understatement. This might have been the game of the season thus far. It didn’t look that way early though as the goals were dry. Kanny Sandhu scoring the only goal in the first 24 mins of this game giving eyes the 1 goal lead. But at the 12:18 mark of the 2nd half after All India responded on the power play bringing the contest to 1-1 on a goal from Sunny Basi. That’s when shit began to pop off. Just a minute later the line of Kanny Sandhu, Amir Bains, and Jimmy Sidhu tried taking over. As Kanny responded with his second of the game at the 11:18 mark. Followed by a top shelf snipe by Amir just 18 seconds after that. All india responded bringing the game to 3-2 as Nav Khinda jammed in a rebound off a Rob Gakhal shot. But Eyes top line wasn’t playing that, as Jimmy responded instantly bringing the lead back to 2. All India showed no quit as Anoop Sahota made a great run splitting the d and bringing the score back to 4-3 entering the 3rd minute. This is when Eyes almost imploded and cost themselves the game. Kanny took bad penalty with 2:38 remaining in the game. Followed by Captain Buddy Gandoke getting ejected just 28 seconds later. And then Eyes taking another hooking penalty with 2 mins reaming. The dangerous All India pp responded as Navi G blasted one home from the left corner followed by Goldy finishing one from in close giving All India the 5-4 lead with just 1:08 left. The craziness ensued as just seconds later Kanny took a blast from just inside center line leveling the game up 5-5, this was one back up tender Piku would have loved to have back. The game looked to be heading toward overtime when All India made a costly turnover sending Jimmy in on a two on one making a brilliant pass to the charging Amir Bain who put it just underneath the bar giving Eyes the 6-5 lead with just 2 second left in regulation. Eyes picks up the massive 2 points snapping their 3-game losing skid. Eyes top line(Jimmy,Amir,Kanny) combined for 10 pts in the contest.
Game 2: Dhillon Insurance(3rd) vs Go Kia south(9th)
Go Kia entered this game looking to push themselves back into a playoff spot. Dhillon Insurance had to rely on rookie Milan Sahni to fill in for injured goalie Jazz Dhaliwal. The game started off slowly as both teams seemed to come out cautious. But Dhillon Insurance was able to up their play around the midway point of the 1st half as Navi Brar fed a pass to rookie Suneet Mangat who slid one past the Sprawling Rajbir “lefty” Grewal. Dhillon’s kept coming as captain Sunny Brar collected a pass speeding down the left hash and sniped one low far side giving DI the 2-0 lead. Navi made it 3-0 shortly after as he tucked one past lefty in close on a mad scramble in front. The Go kia bench seemed dejected, but Lefty showed no quit making two monstrous save just before half and another early into the 2nd giving his team life. Go Kia responded as Harminder Atwal took a feed into the slot turned and threw it towards goal beating Milan making it 3-1 with 13:05 remaining. Go Kia kept buzzing and were rewarded just a few minutes later as captain Sarb Bath gave a cross court feed to Armanjot Gill who was able to sneak it past Milan to bring Go Kia within 1. This would be Sarb’s last contribution to the game as he was forced to leave the contest with a back injury. Dhillon Insurance took a penalty late into the 2nd giving Go Kia one last chance to pull level. With Sarb missing on the right side playing trigger man, the Go Kia PP seemed out of sorts. Dhillon’ collapsed on the points blocking several shots and grinding out the 3-2 win. Go Kia falls to 3-6 and with captain Sarb Bath’s status uncertain heading towards this weeks back to back will this team be able to bounce back?
Game 3: Pizza 38(4th) vs Fancy Doors and mouldings(5th)
The battle for 4th spot took place next as both Pizza 38 and Fancy were coming off losses. The game started out with a high tempo as both team went back and forth. Goaltenders Joe Sandhu and Guppy Rai making several saves tell Pizza 38 was finally able to get on the board as Gagan Khaira scored with 5:37 remaining in the first half. Fancy responded just 1 minute and 21 seconds later as Charan “sweetness” Gill batted one out of midair on a mad scramble in front of the net to bring Fancy even headed into half. In the 2nd half Pizza 38 started getting into penalty trouble and Fancy started to take over the attack putting a lot of pressure on Guppy Rai. The pressure paid off just under 5 minutes into the 2nd frame as Sewak Lalli blasted on in from the point on the PP giving Fancy the 2-1 lead. Despite not being able to generate much in the 2nd half Pizza 38 was able to respond as Shaun Atwal buried a feed from Akash Metha to draw the game level. Penalties would cost Pizza 38 again as at the 6:16 mark Fancy scored another one on the pp as Sewak made a great pass to the cutting Gaurav Bath who was able to beat Guppy to retake the lead for Fancy. This didn’t last very long. Off the ensuing face off win from Mani Sira, Akash took the ball down the wing and buried one short side just 10 second after Fancy took the lead. Pizza 38 had to kill off a couple more penalties to bring the game into overtime. In OT both sides exchanged chances but nothing was settled sending things into a shootout. With the game on star forwards stick Arjun Dhaliwal made a great move to his back hand beating Guppy Rai giving them the 4-3 victory and moving them into 4th the standings.
Game 4: Vacuums R Us(6th) Vs Henry Singer(8TH)
Vacuums headed into the game missing several key players. Henry singer was looking to take advantage and solidify their playoff position. Vacuums had a game plan though and forced Henry singer to play the game at their tempo. Late into the first half the game remained 0-0 until close to the 5-minute mark when Gurp Bhangal made a move into the zone shooting at net where “pretty” Pirt Thind was waiting to deflect the shot putting it by Shiv Puri giving Vacuums the 1-0 lead. The crowd erupted as Pirt scored his 1st of the season and the jubilation was evident on the Vacuums players as the Glue guy scored the goal. After 15 mins of celebration the game picked up play with Vacuums continuing the pressure almost adding a 2nd shortly after as Gurp made a cross court feed to Karan Dhaliwal who beat the goalie but rattled the iron keeping the score 1-0. Vacuums were eventually rewarded for their pressure as with 2 mins left in the first half Gurp added to his league leading assist total sending a pass from behind then net to the streaking Jason Heer who made no mistake giving Vacuums the 2-0 lead. Henry singer was looking to respond before the end of the first half and they did as Rajan Dhami scored off a scramble with 6 seconds remaining in half breaking his slump scoring his first of the season and bringing his team back within one. Henry carried the momentum into the 2nd half as they came out pressuring. But young goaltender Navi Sandhu stayed poised making the big saves when needed. Vacuum were able to regain their sound defensive play and eventually seal the game as KD took a breakaway feed from Jason easing his way towards the empty net and putting it away making it 3-1. Jason Heer added another empty netter giving Vacuums the 4-1 win.
Game 5: Gallo & Company(2ND) vs Art Custom Homes(10TH)
ACH entered the game looking to move into a playoff spot for the first time this season with a Win. They would be up against a red-hot Gallo’s side who have won 3 straight. ACH came out strong and were able to get on the board early. Captain Sukhman Thind won the faceoff back to Jashan Sandhu who one-timed it passed goaltender Sim Deo to give ACH the 1-0 lead less then 4 minutes into the game. Captain Deep Sangha responded 7 minutes later as he finished a beautiful passing play between himself Jas Sadhra and Sunny Khaira. Jas would make it 2-1 Gallo’s after sliding it home from in close on the PP. The game would go into half time 2-1 for Gallo. Much like the first half ACH came out strong and was able to draw up even early into the 2nd. Sukhman made back door feed to Waqas Khan who made no mistaking leveling the game 2-2 just 3:20 in. Gallo’s would retake the lead shortly after as Zee Abbasi walked into the slot and finished past backup goaltender Shaniel Kumar. We reached the midway point of the half with Gallos up 3-2 ACH were able to get a 2 on 1 odd man rush shorthanded, Waqas made the pass to Amanvir Sanghera who tied the game for ACH. Deep Sangha responded for his squad once again blasting one from the point just a minute after ACH’s shorthanded marker. The game was 4-3 Gallos entering the final minute, with ACH pulling their goalie in a final effort to draw the game even. Captain Sukhman Thind had his own response for his ACH side scoring with 30 seconds left and sending the game into OT. Gallos didn’t take long to ice the game in the extra frame though. Sunny Kharia sent a pass up the middle to Nonie Maan who made no mistake scoring his 6th goal in 3 games. Gallos wins their 4th straight moving just 1 point out of first. ACH gets a big point now sitting tied for a playoff spot.
Big thanks to Sunny Deol for contributing to the blog. Him and Rob Gakhal have both added a fresh perspective to the write-ups and the feedback has been well-rated. Please also give a listen to the PBHL weekly podcast hosted by Sunny, Anas and often as a special guest, Grind.
Players please hydrate it will be hot tomorrow.