Early Game – Italy vs Portugal

The early game featured a red-hot Portuguese team fresh off a character win against the powerful Slovenian squad, up against the vaunted Italians. This game could very well be a preview of the Championship final.

Italy jumped ahead 2-0 in the first period off goals from Neil Kelly and Eric Fletcher but Portugal’s sniper Mike Russo got one back in the waning seconds to end the period 2-1.

Both goaltenders battened the hatches in the second with the lone goal off the stick of Eric Fletcher with four minutes to go. Italy 3, Portugal 1.

This Italian squad is hard to play against from behind and proved it in this one. As the Portuguese pressed to come back in the third period, the Romans capitalized with three goals from John Levac, Leo Brideau, and Eric Fletcher, FOR the hat-trick.

Italy now the only undefeated team in the playoffs with a 2-0 record. Portugal moves to 2-1 but can almost guarantee themselves a spot in the Gold Medal Game with a win against Scotland on April 19.

Italy is now looking like a favorite to make the final, but that’s why you play the games folks. Anything can happen in hockey, especially in the PCOHL.

Portugal’s player of the game goes to replacement backstop Frank Rispoli, while Italy’s POG goes to stalwart D-man Bryon Wright.

Portugal POG Frank Rispoli
Italy POG Bryon Wright

Late Game – Slovenia vs Ireland

The late game featured the Slovenians versus the Irish, two teams who led the league in goals and battled for 2nd place for months during the regular season.

Ireland has been without their F1 and Rocket Richard winner Chris Deware since early in the first playoff game and Slovenia has been without their D1, Ian Chamberlain, all playoffs as well.

Dubliner Matt Goddard bulged the twine with a sweeeeet wrister over Cioffi’s shoulder for the only first period goal. Both goaltenders looking very good in this one.

No scoring in the second period until Chris Johnson’s hard release from the point pinballed in with three minutes to go, but Tim Randa answered a minute later with a nifty wraparound that ended the second period 2-1 for Ireland.

Ireland’s longer bench paid off in the third period as a visibly tired Slovenian squad gave up four goals from Randa (his second), Flumerfelt, and a deuce for Aaron Freeland. Paul Riopelle managed one in return but that’s how this one ended. Ireland 6, Slovenia 2.

Slovenia’s POG goes to their reliable backstop Tony Cioffi, while Ireland’s goes to their netminder Stu Henderson.

Ireland POG Stewart Henderson
Slovenia Slivovitz POG Tony Cioffi

NO GAMES next week. The playoffs resume on April 19 with Italy squaring off with Ireland at 8:15 while Portugal meets Scotland at 9:30.