TORONTO - The Beau's Beer Hack bettered the Gas Station Islanders 5-2 this past Saturday night at Upper Canada College, earning a Semifinal berth in the 2023 UUHA Playoffs in the process. In that night's other Quarterfinal matchup, the Brockton Rockets and Jokers Hockey Club required a brief overtime, followed by a shootout, to determine a winner. In the end, the Jokers would emerge as victors in what went into the books as a 3-2 win.
The Jokers will now renew rivalries with the Wheatfield Souldiers at 9:00 pm on Saturday, April 1, while the Hack goes up against the Humiliation at 8:00 pm in that night's other Semifinal match. The winners of those two games will face off against each other in the Championship Final, scheduled for 9:00 pm on Saturday, April 15, while the losing squads will compete for Bronze at 8:00 pm that night. Meanwhile, the Brockton Rockets and Gas Station Islanders will play at 7:00 pm that night in the Consolation Final. All three games, as well as the two on April 1, take place at Upper Canada College.
Hack regular-season scoring leader, Aaron Foster, got his side on the board first, combining with Chris Cacciotti to solve Islanders goalie Joseph Steinman just five minutes into the game. Islanders forward Courtney Steven evened things up a minute later, though, with Grant McArthur picking up the assist. Kerry Towndrow would reestablish the Hack lead before the period was over, though, an unassisted tally that would serve as the go-ahead goal until midway through the 2nd frame, when Tim Vesely converted a play involving Mike Belitsky and John Pickernell to conjure the biscuit past Hack goaltender, Aaron Brophy. That was where the back-and-forth portion of the game would end, though, as the Hack took control of the game, scoring three unanswered 3rd period goals off the sticks of Chris Barkley, Towndrow (with his second of the night) and perennial threat, Louis Durand.
The Islanders were noticeably bereft of their regular-season scoring leader, Dominic Chartier, whose 2.27 points-per-game average may have altered the game's dynamic had he been available to play.
The other Quarterfinal game started in predictable fashion, with the Jokers opening up a 2-0 lead over the Rockets - a squad that had not managed to score a single goal over the course of the previous 8 periods it had faced the Jokers this past regular season. That trend would change near the end of the 2nd period, though, as Blaine Tynes hooked up with Bryan Eelhart and Oliver Sutherns to cut the Jokers' lead in half. Then, midway through the 3rd, veteran Rocket Mike Daniels would beat goaltender Marc Hickox with an unassisted effort, sending the game to OT tied at 2-2. A brief extra frame of unscripted 3-on-3 hockey solved nothing, requiring a shootout to determine a winner. The Jokers shot first, and scored, with Mike Takacs bulging the twine. The Rockets James Neilson and Bryan Eelhart would be unsuccessfull in their attempts, while Gary Rideout Jr. would provide the game-winning penalty-shot goal. Rideout had scored one of the Jokers' 1st-period goals, too, as had Derek Thompson.