Following years of futility, Re/Max finally raised the Trail Commercial Hockey League’s championship trophy last week by skating to a thrilling 5-4 victory over Arlington.
Re/Max needed three games to oust Allstar in the first-to-four-points semifinal series, while Arlington dispatched regular season champs OK Tire in two straight, setting up the one game winner-takes-all final.
Re/Max’s Graham Proulx led the realtors with two goals and two assists including setting up Thomas Abenante’s game winning goal with 5:10 left to play in the third period to clinch the championship.
The goal looked like the insurance marker as Re/Max took a 5-3 lead with time winding down in the third period, but Arlington scored one more in the final minute just to make things interesting.
The back-and-forth match saw the Big A jump out to an early lead when TCHL leading scorer Pat Iannone beat Chris McIsaac on a pretty set up from Joey Baker at 18:45 mark of the first period.
But Re/Max struck back 65 seconds later on a Paul Barclay goal, then struck again a minute and 40 seconds later. Proulx finished a nice passing play from Riley Deadmarsh and Devyn Hill, and wired one by Arlington goalie, Eric Volpatti, for his first on the night to take a 2-1 lead.
Not to be outdone, the Arlington’s persistence paid off as Matt Proulx tied the game, sending it even into the second period. With chances by both teams thwarted time and again by McIsaac and Volpatti, the realtors finally broke through to take the lead with 1:30 to play in the middle frame, when Graham Proulx converted an Abenante and Hill set up to make it 3-2.
In the final stanza, the Arlington again replied when Baker took a Jeremy Robinson pass and tied the game at three at the 19:18 mark.
Re/Max’s Dyne Parker, however, put his team back on top at 15:56 with assists going to Abenante and Graham Proulx.
The Arlington had a golden opportunity to tie it when Abenante was sent off for holding midway through the period, but a strident penalty kill and solid goaltending foiled the ‘A’s’ opportunity.
After Abenante put the realtors up 5-3, the ‘A’ pulled their goalie, and Robinson fired one by McIsaac on an Iannone set up with just under a minute left to bring the Arlington within one.
Re/Max weathered a late storm by the A’s top line in the dying seconds, and celebrated a very satisfying and well-deserved victory.
The realtors had been snakebitten in the TCHL final the past five years losing to Allstar last season, Arlington in the 2014 final, and OK Tire in the 2013, 2012, and 2011 final matches.
Re/Max’s Graham Proulx was awarded the playoff MVP. Regular season MVP went to Pat Iannone, with Best Goalie honours going to Rocky Dixon of OK Tire, while Re/Max’s Dallas Stanton took home Best Defenceman.