The long treacherous road to the Founders Cup began as the 2012 OJBLL playoffs got underway this weekend. With the majority of the favorites to win the Founders this year being from Ontario; including the host Six Nations Rebels, the outcome of the OJBLL playoffs will be vital to see the set up for the Canadian Championship.
First we will take a look at the East and what has happened so far this post-season.
1 Akwesasne Indians 8 Markham Ironheads : AKW 2-0
The regular season champions Akwesasne Indians head into playoffs as one of the favorites to win the Founders and after Game 1 they proved why. The Indians dominated the Ironheads in a convincing 22-3 victory at the Turtledome in Akwesasne. The transition game of the Indians was too much to handle for the Ironheads which was a major factor in the win for the Indians.
Game 2 would be a different tale as the Ironheads defense came out hot holding the powerful Akwesasne offense to only to 2 goals and lead 3-2 in the first frame. The Markham offense moved the ball well and most importantly, they countered the transition of Akwesasne.
The Ironheads then took a 6-5 lead late in the 2nd period but Ty Thompson scored a beauty behind the back goal to tie the game up with 0.5 seconds remaining in the second.
The Indians scored 4 unanswered goals in the third that helped them pull away from the Ironheads but Markham would claw back but it would not be enough as they dropped Game 2 12-8. The Ironheads were a completely different team on Sunday starting with Rookie goaltender Matt Law shutting the door early and often on the Indians.
The I-Heads may be down 2 games to none, but they are not out. Game 2 showed some fight from Markham and proved they can ball with Akwesasne. If Markham can continue to match the transition of Akwesasne they will be able to extend the series back in their own barn.
Games Remaining: 3.AKW@MAR Jun 29 8pm *4. AKW@MAR Jun 30 2pm *5. AKW@MAR Jun 30 7pm
Players to Watch: AKW- Ty Thompson 6G 5A 11P
MAR- Adam Kelusky 2G 3A 5P
2 Clarington Green Gaels 7 Mimico Mountaineers
The Green Gaels are another favorite to come out of the East and make a trip to the 2012 Founders Cup. In Game 1, the powerful offense of the Green Gaels was too much to handle for the young Mountaineers of Mimico.
The Gaels had outstanding offensive performances from Dylan Goddard and Brock Levick posting 8 points each. Austin Shanks also chipped in 7 points to secure the win. Aside from the potent offense, the Gaels have strong balance on defense and a great goaltending duo with Neil Roberts and Eric Pigden. Roberts will assume the starter role but Pigden is playoff ready just incase called upon.
It appears that Mimico may not be able to handle the many offensive threats the Gaels have in their arsenal. The Mountaineers look to bounce back as they host the Gaels in Game 2 tonight at 8pm.
2. GRE@MIM Jun 26 8:00pm
3. MIM@GRE Jun 28 8:00pm
*4. GRE@MIM Jun 30 7:00pm
*5. MIM@GRE Jul 01 2:00pm
Players to Watch: GRE- Brock Levick 4G,4A,8P & Dylan Goddard 2G 6A Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â MIM- Dereck Downs 2G,1A,3P
3 Halton Hills Bulldogs 6 Kahnawake Hunters
Halton Hills have made it to the Eastern Conference finals in the last 3 consecutive years including a 2010 Founders Cup Championship and the Bulldogs look to do the same in 2012. The Bulldogs defeated the Hunters in Game 1 by a score of 12-7. Halton Hills was in control for the entire game never giving up the lead once.
In Game 2, it was a back and forth affair. The Hunters came out fast to a 2-0 lead with only 3 minutes gone in the game. The 1st ended with the Hunters on top 4-3. The Bulldogs would respond in the second and take a 7-5 lead going into the 3rd.
Kahnawake scored 3 unanswered goals to take a 8-7 lead but Princeton Tiger Michael MacDonald would send the game into OT with a goal with 41 seconds to go in the 3rd.
Overtime would be all Bulldogs as they scored 2 goals to lock up Game 2 for Halton Hills. The series heads back to Kahnawake where the Hunters face a must win situation in the remaining games. The Hunters have been solid this year at home winning 7 of their 10 home games. The Bulldogs can expect a big crowd in Kahnawake and it will be another close game like Sunday afternoon.
3. HH@KAH Jun 30, 8:00pm
*4. HH@KAH Jul 01, 2:00pm
Players to Watch: HH Michael MacDonald 5G, 5A, 10P
KAH Okwirenton Stacey SV% .818, 99 Saves
3 Oakville Buzz 4 Newmarket Saints
No doubt the best match up in the first round of the playoffs will be between the Newmarket Saints and the Oakville Buzz. Newmarket is equipped with a deadly trio of scorers with Ryan Lee, Chad Levick and Bo Webster. On the other side Oakville has a tough seasoned defense core backed up by arguably the best goaltender in the OJBLL Ian Duffy.
In Game 1, a slow start from the Saints offense had them playing catch up and ran out of time to claw back into the game. The Buzz picked up a win in Game 1 at the Hive with a score of 13-9. Although Oakvilleâ€™s main strength comes from the back end, the Buzz offense has improved greatly with the return of Todd Nakasuji from Limestone College.
Game 2 gets underway tonight at 8pm at the Magna Centre in Newmarket. If Duffy and the Buzz defense can shut down the trio of the Saints while Nakasuji and the Buzz offense give support up front, the Buzz should be able to come out victorious in the series.
2. OAK@NEW Jun 26, 8:00pm
3. NEW@OAK Jun 29, 8:00pm
*4. OAK@NEW Jun 30, 3:00pm
*5. NEW@OAK Jul 03, 8:00pm
Players to Watch: OAK Todd Nakasuji 2G, 3A, 5P
NEW Chad Levick, Ryan Lee, Bo Webster, Combined for 5G,9A,14P
Stay tuned to see the update of the first round in Western Conference !