Next up … Forest Hill

Quick update, that we’ve drawn Forest Hill for our next round, the semi-finals.

This round is a 2 out of 3, or first to four points (allowing for ties, etc).

On the year we were 1 and 1 against Forest Hill, a good team with a couple of very speedy players.

The series kicks off Sunday night at 5:25 pm at Leaside 1.

Here’s video of our last game for all of you scouts out there.

A game full of subplots

For a game that was absolutely meaningless in our season, there was lots going on tonight on the ice – and in the stands.

First of all, in the stands. I have to give it up to the big brothers, and a little brother, who were in the crowd tonight. When North Toronto fans were making disparaging remarks about one of our players – a blatant example of poor sportsmanship and what fans are not supposed to be doing – William and Thomas and Viktor made a point of making sure it didn’t continue. And, if I may add, in a respectful and smart way.

Thanks guys.

On the ice, there was a tough hit. The referee said without a significant injury, despite being a clear hit from behind that he was calling, there was only going to be a 2 minute penalty. That is not the rule.

Here’s the rule. We’ll be discussing this with the league. The safety of our players is paramount.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.22.33 PMFinally, as for our play tonight, it continues to be a work in progress. While the first goal looked offside to all of us on the bench, we did get caught standing still.

There was a giveaway as we tried to rush the puck out of our end that cost us a goal and a tip by a defenceman that cost us another.

But, that said, that was another game that could have gone either way. We felt we had the bulk of the puck possession and played strong.

We are still going to work on sharing the puck, and continue to refine our breakouts.

But overall, it was a fine effort. Maybe the best game of the year by Andrew C.

Max scored the lone goal, jumping on a rebound after strong puck work by William P.

We generated some good chances, and when we used our speed and our pressure, it all went in the right direction. A post, a good glove save and it’s neck and neck.

Finally, Nicholas played well, owning the crease for the whole game.

North Toronto White has come a long way since we demolished them repeatedly at the start of the season and destroyed them in their own tournament. We hope to get another run at them, but lots of work to be done before we get there.

So, now we wait for our schedule. We hope it will be up tomorrow. We’ll try to squeeze in a practice or two before our next skate.

Boom! On to the next round!

Right from the opening faceoff, your East York Bulldogs meant business. We didn’t talk about the importance of the game, that a win meant a birth in the next round of the playoffs. But they seemed to get it without being told.

Most of the first period was a Bulldogs swarm, hemming Vaughan in their own end. We did give up a few chances, and Michael held the fort – as he has done so often.

In the second, that pressure turned into goals. Maybe the kids wanted to score in the end where their parents were watching!

Connor fed William P. for a great goal – one that started from the back end with Dylan moving the puck up.

Less than two minutes later, Dylan took the puck, went end to end and William put his stick on the ice in the crease for a tap-in and a 2-0 lead.

Andrew C. finished off the period with a strong rush, and blew his big shot through the goalie to give us a cushion heading into the 3rd period.

Despite a 5-on-3 we couldn’t add to the score and then gave up a shorty. But that was it, the lead held, and it’s off to round two.

Really great games from all the players. They deserved this outcome. They deserve another round.

Next!

Victory? Yes, we remember you!

It’s been a long time between wins. A very long time. But a win over Vaughan Black, our first win of the playoffs, and our first win since Feb. 2, felt very, very good.

It felt good because not only was it a must win game, and we’d been on a six game losing streak, but because the kids on the ice showed fierce determination – from the goalies on out. The boys were determined tonight. Determined to win.

It didn’t start out great as Vaughan buried a goal on a breakaway – a nice deke in fact.

But no one got down, no one hung their heads. Instead, the boys battled. They upped their compete level. Then they upped their speed and the pressure and the tide started to turn.

A flurry of opportunities in front of the Vaughan net in the second led to a backhander to the top shelf from Cade, and we were back tied.

The 3rd period started with almost 5 minutes of action without a whistle. It was exhausting! On a rink that wide, full line changes are tough. While we continue to struggle to get the puck out of our zone, we also worked hard to keep the puck in Vaughan’s zone.

All that hard work paid off in a goalmouth scramble that led to a goal with less than two minutes left. The Ryans and Dylan were slapping away at the puck, and it looks like Dylan rammed the puck home.

But it wasn’t over yet. Somehow, despite some quite excellent game strategy by the coaches, we allowed a breakaway. Unbelievable. But Michael was up to the task in the net, and the puck rolled harmlessly past the post. After that, the boys kept it simple, kept the puck away from our net and claimed victory.

The goalies were solid for us, with Nicholas shutting out the Rangers in his half of the game, and Michael making numerous stops, too.

Ivan and Noah were both very strong on the D, Dylan scored the winner and ripped another off the crossbar. Max continues to move the puck with confidence.

And the forwards were exhausted but happy. We asked them to share the puck more, to spread out, to play their positions. They made real progress.

And we got the victory. We’ll see Vaughan again next week. Should be fun!