Early Game – Italy vs Slovenia

The early game was a practice for the first place Italians who have already locked up a spot in the Gold Medal Game on Sunday, but Slovenia was playing to protect their spot in the Bronze game. A win would guarantee them a place in the “kiss-your-sister” match, but a loss would require some complicated tie-breaking calculations by a team of senior accountants from KPMG and Deloitte Canada at great personal expense to the executive. Or Mark Plewes was going to do it for free. But it was definitely one of those.

Italy stormed out in the first period with three unanswered goals by Eric Fletcher, John Levac and Jay Cummings.

Italy kept charging in the second, going up 5-0 on goals from Fletcher and Marcello DiLuzio. But this Slovenian team, full of heart and skill, pulled together to beat Italy’s Tomi Niemenen three times in as many minutes to make it 5-3 (goal scorers were Chris Johnson, Dwayne Tygeson, and Paul Riopelle). Italy’s Steve Atchison finished the second period scoring, putting Italy up 6-3 going into the third.

League stalwart Leo Brideau opened the scoring in the third period but was quickly answered by Slovenian sponsor Dave Dodic. Italy 7, Slovenia 4 with half a period to go.

But the Romans are 1st place for a reason and Levac and Brideau each picked up their second goals of the night in the waning minutes and that’s how this one ended. Italy 9, Slovenia 4.

Slovenia’s player of the game goes to Johnny Fasulo filling in on defence and Italy’s player of the game goes to Leo Brideau with a 6 point night.

Slovenia Slivovitz POG Johnny Fasulo
Italy POG Leo Brideau

Late Game – Ireland vs Scotland

The late game was an important one as Slovenia, Scotland and Ireland were all vying for a spot in the Bronze game, and it would take this game to decide who those two teams would be. Scotland needed a win to stay eligible.

Brian Spence ripped a sweeeet one past Rispoli the Goalie six minutes in to put Ireland up but Alan Robb responded with 6 minutes to go leaving the first period in a 1-1 draw.

Ireland pressed in the second, going up 3-1 on goals from Matt Goddard and Bruce Freeman and it looked like the period would end that way until Scotland tied the game on two goals in the last two minutes by rookie Acheson Thomas and sniper Patty Sharp. But Peter Freeman put a pin in Scotland’s second period balloon with a go-ahead goal in the final seconds.

Ireland 4, Scotland 3 going into the third period, and what a period it was. Firewagon hockey at its best. Patty Sharp got his second goal early on to tie the game at 4 but Tim Freeman answered quickly to put the Irish up again. Tim Randa scored with eight minutes to go to make it 6-4, Scotland’s hopes fading. But Joe Peacock brought the Scots back within 1 on a sweet individual effort that could make an NHL highlight reel. The Irish scored again as Robin Flumerfelt’s pass through the crease found twine instead of wood, making it 7-5 Ireland. Scotland pulling their goalie with their season on the line, Jim Maguire found net with 17 seconds to go, but it wasn’t enough. This one ended Ireland 7, Scotland 6.

Scotland POG goes to Acheson Thomas with a nasty goal and 3 apples while Ireland’s POG goes to their fantastic team manager Mark Plewes who has been a great addition to the team this year. Hope to see him back again next year.

Scotland POG Acheson Thomas
Ireland POG Mark Plewes

So there we have it folks. Slovenia will play Ireland at 1:30 on Sunday in the Bronze medal game and then the main event — the GOLD MEDAL GAME — will go at 2:45, featuring an undefeated playoff juggernaut called Italy against a never-say-die Portuguese squad.

Sources within the Portuguese front office say that Mike Rukavina is expected to play after suffering a serious shoulder injury in his first shift of the playoffs weeks ago. Will this be the end of the Rukavina curse??? Will he finally win a PCOHL championship after over 20 years in the league?? Proline is offering special bets on this one and the Port Credit Arena will be abuzz with members of the national sports media to cover this possible historic event.

Pizza and refreshments will be served after Sunday’s games, so everyone should come out whether you’re playing or not to help celebrate the end of another fantastic PCOHL season!