The Aces repeat last season’s first round feat against the Minute Men and come from behind to win their series and go back to the finals in three games. The Sharks pound the Rays in game three to head back to the finals themselves, keeping their title defense alive.
It was a wild weekend of FIHL Playoff Hockey at TBSA. On Saturday both teams that were down one game to nothing in the opening round found a way to win and force a game three. The Sting Rays were first as they played a neck and neck game with the Sharks that would see them get the game winner with about five minutes left in the game and hold on for the nail-biting win. The Rays were able to do this without a single goal from the FIHL’s leading regular season scorer in Chandler O’Dell. O’Dell, who was battling food poisoning was stymied and tightly checked and only found ink on the score sheet in the sin bin. The key to the Rays success was a successful game plan to keep tight grips on Sharks phenom Beaudy Beaudin who while had a goal and two assists, wasn’t as active as usual thanks to coach Guays game plan and the rays forced a game three in 5-4 squeaker.
In Game three the Sharks were successful in keeping O’Dell quiet, keeping him to only one goal, but the Rays were anything but successful keeping Beaudin off the score sheet. Nine points culminated by six goals and three assists in a 10-3 drubbing sends the Sting Rays home after round one just like last season, where they suffered a sweep at the hands of the Sharks in two close heartbreakers. So, the Sharks bounced back big time after the close, game two defeat and are headed back to the finals where they look to successfully defend their championship and be the only team to ever hold that title. To do so they will have to defeat the same team they defeated last season…
The Aces repeated last season series against the Minute Men in which they lost game one, came back to win game two in OT, and then take game three. Game two was a back and forth affair and much like last season, the Aces took advantage of key mistakes made by the Minute Men. Going 3 for 3 on the power play in the first period with the Mens top defensemen in the penalty box wiped out the Men’s 1-0 lead. The battled back and wound up with a two goal lead in the third and made two more key mistakes allowing the Aces to tie the game and then take the lead with three unanswered goals. The Minute Men would tie the game with 34 seconds left in the game with the goaltender pulled to send it to over time, but a lucky deflection off an anything but lucky player less than a minute into the OT forces a game three. Alex Macris would tally five goals in the 7-6 win for the Aces including that game winner the Connor Hill shot that deflected off his pants.
In Game Three, the Minute Men made more mistakes along with bad penalties and the Aces capitalized. Scoring early on a turnover, the Aces never looked back and the Minute Men played from behind the entire game. It got desperate with two minutes left and down 5-3 thanks to an ill prepared Minute Men team on a face off in their own zone in which the puck was shot off the drop by the Ferris Wheel of Love and wound up in the back of the Minute Men net They would pull the goalie for the instant backfire to make it 6 to 3 and it would stay that way, giving the Aces another finals berth, and a second chance to exact revenge for last season against the Sharks. They will have to do it without the services of Michael Macris as he will be serving a two game suspension for a deliberate cross check to the head and neck of a an opponent in game three. He will be allowed to return for game three.
The Finals will start next weekend and start times are being determined.