Exciting Battle for 2nd Place Goes To?...
With second place on the line and a chance to keep pace with the league leading Knights, the Goal Diggers and Plugs faced off in the first game of Sunday night to start the evenings festivities.
James Spence and Colin Bell open the scoring for the Plugs three minutes into the game to take a 2-0 lead but then Guy Cullen and Dane Sorensen tie it up during the 9 minute mark of the quarter. Each team trade goals with the Plugs Brodie Wade and Diggers' Brennan Cullen scoring but the GD's would bury two more (Merilainen and G. Cullen) to take a 5-3 lead into the break.
Sorensen and Merilainen score for the Diggers' to climb further ahead but the Plugs' Ryan Lewis and Mason Lo get the team "charged" and back into the match. Both teams would score two goals more each, GD's (Sorensen and Merilainen) and Plugs' (Dylan Benard and Bell) to make the score 9-7 Goal Diggers at halftime.
The Plugs balanced attack kept shots coming and the game was extremely entertaining to watch but the Goal Diggers played more of a lull & strike style of game with a number of playmakers doing the majority of their scoring. Ryan Lewis (2), Pat McMillan and Bell scored four in the quarter and the Goal Diggers Sorensen (2) and Merilainen scored bringing the Plugs up to 12-9 and the Plugs ready to draw the game closer.
Bell scores first shift into the 4th and then Lewis on the powerplay brings the Plugs to within 1 goal and the game stayed tight until the midway point of the final frame when Merilainen restores the 2 goal lead for the Goal Diggers. The Diggers then score on the PP and then wins a faceoff to keep possession to seal the deal. Bell scores in the dying seconds for the Plugs bringing the score to 14-12 but there wasn't enough time on the clock. A great battle between two evenly matched teams.
HeadCase Sportz Players of the Game:
Plugs: Colin Bell
Goal Diggers: Colten Merilainen
The Phantom were a little shorthanded for their match with the league leading Knights but team sources informed this writer that it wouldn't deter their strategy.
Both teams started strong but the Phantom appeared to be a wee bit hungrier winning the faceoff and winning the battles on a couple of loose balls early in the game. Isaac Swan drifts past a Knights defender like he was an apparition to bury a shot past Will Chiasson to give the lead to the Phantom; the 100+ fans in attendance leapt off their chairs after a great play. We were in for a ball game! Phantoms strategy revealed after the goal... strike early and often as the Knights were still coming to terms with their loss in the World-Wide Web Facebook "Best Logo and Uniform Design" Contest that wrapped up earlier in the day.
Christiaens for the Knights would tie the game shortly after, but then Josh Nelson would bury his teams' second on his way to the ground after taking a knock but the Phantom now had a 2-1 lead. Possession is key in any field game and the Phantom appeared to be controlling this aspect of the game thus far. Then with an unfortunate turnover at centre, the Knights Rhys MacDonald buries a bouncer past Parker Teufel on a pretty give and go with Adam Golia to tie the game.
Despite the resurgence of the rejuvenated Phantom, their turnovers and some big stops by goalkeeper Will Chiasson kept them off the scoresheet until just before half. The Knights offensive "side-show" attack of Adam Golia Cole Christiaens and Parker Johnson took over burying 9 straight. Parker Teufel played outstandingly between the pipes for the Phantom but couldn't stop them all. Still being peppered in the 2nd half, Teufel led the Phantom defensively but it wasn't enough on this night as the Knights would prevail.
HeadCase Sportz Players of the Game:
Knights: Rhys MacDonald
Phantom: Josh Nelson