The Arlington pulled off an improbable victory followed by an unlikely win last week to open the Trail Commercial Hockey League playoffs.
Arlington eliminated Gericks from the playoffs with a 6-5 victory over regular season champs, OK Tire in the early match Thursday, making Gericks’ outcome against Allstar in the second game meaningless, as it left them trailing the Big A by three points.
But the fourth seeded Arlington kept rolling as they built a 4-1 lead through two periods over the Tire on Sunday, then held on for a 5-4 win in Game 1 of the first-to-four-points playoff.
Joey Baker scored the winning goal at 3:44 of the third, beating Tire goalie Rocky Dickson on a set up from Kris Davis to give the ‘A’ a 5-1 lead.
Like Baker, a former Portland Winterhawk, and Dickson, a perennial KIJHL allstar with the Nitehawks, the TCHL playoffs often showcase the very best talent Greater Trail has to offer with many former Junior A, Junior B, and international players competing for the championship trophy.
The Arlington opened the scoring on a goal from Darryl Zol at 19:40, but just 30 seconds later Kelly MacKay tied it on an unassisted effort.
Three straight goals from TCHL scoring champion Pat Iannone put Arlington up 4-1 heading into the third, and Baker’s goal looked to put the game away. Yet, the Tire came roaring back with three straight tallies in less than two minutes. First Darrin set up Chris Kissock to make it 5-2 with 3:09 to play. Then Chris would return the favour, assisting on Darrin’s first goal of the playoffs to make it 5-3. The frantic pace continued, and with 1:19 to play, Chris brought the Tire to within one, taking a pass from Troy Palmer and beating Arlington starter Eric Volpatti to make it 5-4. However, it was as close as the regular season champs would get, as the teams now prepare for Game 2 of the series on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
In Sunday’s other playoff match, Re/Max jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a tally from Thomas Abenante. Allstar’s Scott Morrisseau replied to tie it with five minutes left in the opening frame, and with 2:30 to play in the period, Kelly Sidoni made it 2-1 Allstar on a pretty passing play from Derek Steep and Brady Glover. Allstar’s Walker Sidoni made it 3-1 at 16:45 of the second as he finished an Andrew Jenner pass to beat Re/Max goalie Chris McIsaac.
The realtors battled back in the third, and Morrisseau collected his second of the night at 4:47 and set up Colton Semenok 20 seconds later to even the match at 3-3.