Your FBHL 2016-2017 Champions: The Killer Whales!
This year’s final was anticipated to be an epic battle, pitting captains Marc Guitard and James Campbell and their respective teams against each other for a second consecutive season. Silverbacks captain Guitard had raised the cup for the first time in his career in the 2016 final, leaving James Campbell to reflect on his fourth trip to the final dance without the prize. With Campbell’s return to this year’s final…Who could say? This year’s final had one of the strongest gate receipts in the storied history of the Freddy Ball Hockey League, with members of several rival teams, their significant others and their children in attendance.
The finals this year featured the regular season winning Silverbacks versus the Killer Whales who finished third on a strong second half. Both teams were pushed to the brink in earlier playoff rounds, but both prevailed to reach the finals.
Game One of the finals started quickly with a very early goal by the Killer Whales off the opening draw. Richard Kwiatkowski tallied on a blistering slapper through a screening Matt Petitpas. The Killer Whales scored again about five minutes late with the help of the hockey gods. Rakesh Rajput collected a fortunate turnover and quickly threw it on net, hitting a Silverback stick before going in. Marc Guitard got his team back in it with a great individual effort to make it a 2-1 score with four minutes remaining. Both keepers (Tony Bonnar & Jeff Smith) were tested often and showed their mettle. Jeff Smith preserved the victory with a memorable blocker save through traffic to keep the score 3-1, and Rakesh’s marker stood up to be the game winning goal in game one.
Game two started more slowly with both teams having settled in. The Killer Whales opened the scoring on a beauty cross floor pass from Bruno Dugas to Sean Keenan, who one-timed a laser into the top corner. Like game one, the Killer Whales jumped out to a two goal lead on a seeing eye goal by Bruno that barely crossed the line. Marc Guitard showed his regular season dominance had not left him, scoring again for his team and getting them back in the game around the nine minute mark. Richard scored with three minutes remaining to give the Whales back a two goal lead. Not to be denied, Marc capped off a stellar final by scoring again for the Silverbacks to keep it close. Matt Petitpas rounded out the scoring by sliding in a rebound complete the scoring and ensure the Killer Whales victory. Richard’s goal stood up as the game two winning marker allowing the Killer Whales to win the series in two hard fought games.
Once again, the FBHL showed the calibre of the players and the organization as a whole with a clean and well played finals. Congratulations to all who participated and assisted in putting on the finals, with special thanks going out to President Jamie Carson for refereeing, Phil Cronkhite and Darryl Moorcroft – goal judges, Tim O’Leary & Jon Loubert – scorekeeping/clock and Mike Connor for some fantastic photographs.