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The Hitmen Strike Again

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The D1 playoffs started off with a mismatch between the top seeded Hitmen and the last place Stingrays. The H jumped on the SR's with 5 goals in the first, including one in the first minute, by Contreras(2), D'Agnillo(2) and Leblanc for an insurmountable 5-0 lead. The H scored scored 3 more in the 2nd from Ross, Rentzepis and D'agnillo again to complete the hat trick. Both SR's goals were scored by Denne for an 8-2 final. The Stingrays hung tough and played close games for the majority of the season in D1. The next game was much closer between the 2nd seeded MD Sparks and the 7th seeded Plague. The P opened the scoring on a goal from Constantine and a 1-0 lead after the 1st. The MDS matched that with a goal from Roby and scored another on the PP halfway through from G. Clow. MDS got a goal from White to take a 2 goal lead. The P scored a PPG on a rocket of a shot from Weber to end the period 3-2. Genest restored the 2 goal lead for MDS about 4 minutes into the 3rd. Bruno scored with 4 minutes left to make the score 5-2 and basically wrap this game up. Florkowski scored on another rocket of a shot on the PP for the 5-3 final. The league would like to wish Matt Weber and Blake Cowles the best of luck as they are both now out of the area and their talent would be sorely missed on the Plague. The 3rd first round game was between the 4th seeded Phantoms and the 5th seeded Gladiators. The P's had a strong start to the game but couldn't seem to put anything in besides one that was on or a little over the line. The G's got on the board first about 9 minutes in on a great individual effort by Giovia on a breakaway. The P's got a lucky break immediately after on a long shot from Juraska that eluded G Sub Brush who was filling in for Tardivo. The P's scored 2 goals on the same shift very early in the 2nd on blasts from Barrett and Kudrick with great screens in front. Dunner scored for the P's to make it 4-1 before Benson scored for the G's in the last minute of the 2nd to make it a game at 4-2. Once again the P's had a 2 goal shift a little over halfway through the 3rd on goals from Trzeciak and Evans that all but ended the game. Another P's goal by Broger finished the scoring off for the P's and the final score was 7-2 as the G's seemed to hit the wall in the 3rd. The last first round game was between the 3rd seeded Sin City and the 6th seeded Haze. The game figured to be a tight, low scoring affair and that was surely the case in this matchup. The H got on the board early in the 1st on a fluke goal from O'keefe that went off a SC player an into the net past G Sub Brush who was filling in for Bender. The 1st would finish 1-0 and the Haze bunkered down for some solid D in the 2nd period and kept SC chasing to tie the game up. SC had a few PP's in the 3rd and it seemed as if they had the momentum and chances to tie the game up but Makowsky made some excellent saves to complete the 1-0 shutout for the H.

The semi's started off with the league's longest rivals, the Phantoms and the MD Sparks, going at for the 6th straight playoffs which was sure to bring out another close, physical contest. The P's jumped on the board first on a goal from Trzeciak about 2 minutes into the game. The MDS bounced back with a goal thrown into the crease and knocked in about halfway through the period to tie the score. The P's Doyle used his speed to regain the lead with less than a minute left in the 1st for a 2-1 lead after one. The MDS once again tied the score about 6 minutes into the 2nd on a deflected point shot by Dyke. The P's would once again score in the final minute of the period on a beautifully executed passing play on the PP that Broger tipped in to take a 3-2 lead going to the 3rd. The MDS kept bringing it in the 3rd and had a few PP's late to tie the score up but just couldn't get the tying goal past the P's French and they were knocked out by the P's for the 6th straight season. The other game was between the Hitmen and the Haze who were meeting in the playoffs for the first time in a while. The leagues hottest player, D'Agnillo, scored 5 minutes into the game for the HI on an amazing individual effort for a 1-0 lead after the 1st. The HA lost one of their top players, Adu, late in the first that crushed an already short bench down to 2 subs. The HA tightened up to keep the game a low scoring contest with the lack of subs and did well until D'Agnillo struck again close to halfway through the period and the score was 2-0 after two. The HA had a potential PP about halfway into the 3rd negated by a retaliatory penalty by O'Keefe and the team's hopes went with him to the box. The HI's D'Agnillo completed back to back playoff hat tricks with a PP goal with about 4 minutes left to finish off the 3-0 victory and a shutout for Brush.

The finals were an all too familiar match up between the Hitmen and the Phantoms as the teams were facing each other for the 5th straight post season(P's 3-1) and 4th time in the finals as these 2 teams just find a way to get it done in the playoffs. The P's controlled play for the opening 5 minutes but couldn't get anything past a determined Brush in net. The H changed the momentum with a goal by Contreras about halfway through the period. About 2 minutes later the H capitalized on a missed defensive coverage by the P's and Houston buried it for a 2-0 lead which caused the P's to call timeout. The P's had a face off deep in the H's zone with about 4 minutes left in the period and won the draw back but their Dman knocked the ball into the H's Contreras who took off the other way on a breakaway where he as caught and held by Kudrick. The player resulted in an unusual championship game penalty shot which Contreras converted between French's pads for a 3-0 lead. Another face off deep in the P's zone led to another H goal as Contreras came in untouched and squeezed a shot into the net for a hat trick and 4-0 lead that pretty much set the stage for the rest of the game. The P's had some solid chances in the 2nd but came away with nothing to show for it. Early in the 3rd the P's finally got on the board on a goal from team captain Barrett but any potential momentum was immediately reversed with a nice goal from the H's Leadston that he buried into the upper corner to seal the team's 5-1 victory to exact some much needed revenge on their playoff rivals. Congrats to the H's Felice D'Agnillo who was the post season MVP with 6 G's and 3 A's as well as MVG Josh Brush also of the H. The P's playoff MVP was Curt Evans.

Congrats to the regular season award winners: Kevin Roby of the Sparks with 15 points; Matt Weber of the Plague with an absurd 13 Goals: Josh Brush of the Hitmen with a 1.00 GAA; Brush and Scott Webb of the MD Sparks with 6 Wins each.

Thanks for another great season of top level ball hockey and I'm sure some other teams will be aiming to knock the Hitmen and Phantoms down and win the D1 Cup. Good luck to everyone in the already started 2nd season of '12.

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