Congratulations to the 2017 GWLMISL Champions, the Aquaholics – Fueled by Alcohol. The season wrapped up with an exciting final between the victors and the finalists, Chairman Lee’s Team of The People. It was a tight match as the score remained 0-0 going into halftime, although only narrowly so as the blues’ keeper Andrew MacKay banked his own risky header clearance off a team-mate and nearly into his own net. He would ultimately stand tall allowing just one goal through the game, a patented Udoka Umeh multi step-over dazzler, as the Alcoholics defeated the Reds 4-1. After being largely contained (by his own lofty standards) through-out the season, Mulinde M’Hango paid dividends as he scored his team’s final two goals to put the nails in the coffin following Eric Lees’ pair of opening goals. All in all it was an exciting and close game with no losers as all the participants can be proud that they both made it to the big show while the fans got the entertaining match they hoped for. Rhys Degrave breathes a sigh of relief with his Ray Bourque-esque late-career title, while Tracey Miller’s perfect start to her career looks to continue beyond her sophomore year.
A big thank you to all the league’s participants for joining in making the league a success yet again this season. We hope to see you all again next year!
Sportspersonship Awards (as selected by teammates):
Aquaholics – Tracey Miller
Argent Slaughter – Casey Berthon
Chairman Lee’s Team – Adam Conci
The E-lemon-ators – Andy Chan
Hulk-a-maniacs – Megan Neufeld
The Juice is Loose – Deji Aremu
MakeAngeloGrapeAgain – Mike Berkis
No Cream, No Sugar – Jim Jennings
Most Points (Previous Record – Salman Riyaz 59 in 2014):
1.Salman Riyaz – 63 (New League Record)
2.Gaetan Infantino – 40
3.Brian Sakala – 33
4.Mike Siwicki – 31
T5. Andy Kenyon – 25
T5. Erik Sjoberg – 25
6.Adam Conci – 23
7.Mulinde M’Hango - 22
8.Kevin Tuyisenge – 21
T9. Selena Leung – 19
T9. Roseline Bohemier – 19
Most Goals (Previous Record – Salman Riyaz 48 in 2014):
1.Salman Riyaz – 51 (New League Record)
2.Gaetan Infantino – 30
3.Brian Sakala – 20
4.Mike Siwicki – 18
T5. Andy Kenyon – 16
T5. Kevin Tuyisenge – 16
7. Ramone Thompson – 15
T8. Adam Conci – 14
T8. Vivek Maharajh – 14
T8. Mulinde M’Hango – 14
T8. Udoka Umeh – 14
Most Assists (Record – Andy Kenyon 20 in 2014):
T1. Brian Sakala – 13
T1. Mike Siwicki – 13
T1. Erik Sjoberg – 13
4. Salman Riyaz 12
5. Andreas Bergen – 11
T6. Gaetan Infantino – 10
T6. Mulinde M’Hango – 10
T6. Selena Leung – 10
T9. Adam Conci – 9
T9. Andy Kenyon – 9
T9. Brendan Hargrave – 9
T9. Cathy Duong – 9
T9. Alyssa Vergata – 9
Top Points Women (Record – Selena Leung 24 in 2016):
T1. Roseline Bohemier – 19
T1. Selena Leung – 19
3. Cathy Duong - 15
4. Alyssa Vergata – 9
5. Samantha Miller – 8
Top Points Rookies (Previous Record excluding season one – Sean Brokop 32 in 2013)
1. Gaetan Infantino – 40 (New League Record)
2. Udoka Umeh – 16
T3. Mitchell Link – 11
T3. Eric Lees - 11
5. Paul Owens – 10
Goals Against Average
1. Salim Tourabaly – 3.00
2. Matthew Dolan – 3.167
3. Andrew Mackay – 3.308
4. Alexandre Anspikian – 3.846
5. Andrew Bergen – 4.750
Honorable mention to Dan Nichols for his 2.667 GAA albeit in only 3 games
T1. Salim Tourabaly – 1
T1. Andrew Mackay - 1
This week’s fallen tributes:
Hulk-a-maniacs FC (Captains Cathy Duong & Scott Van Hellemond): A perennial powerhouse all season long, this club featured arguably the league’s best combination of balanced attack, strong defending, and consistent goaltending. Unfortunately they suffered as a result of the surprise absence of their cornerstone player Gaetan Infantino due to a family emergency, and despite beating the Aquaholics in both of their prior meetings, they were unable to repeat against their formidable foe in the semifinals, losing 6-2. This void did not stop them from pushing to the end and generating an abundance of quality chances that may very well have kept them in the game had a few bounces gone their way.
The Juice is Loose (Captains Jean Fillion & Brianne Labossiere): Largely considered the strongest team in the league this season, these regular season champions fell short in the playoffs despite featuring the league’s lowest goals against AND highest goals for. They had the misfortune of landing a semifinal matchup against their only real challenge all season as Chairman Lee’s Team had beaten them in both their prior meetings and pushed that to 0-3 in the semis as they continued their patented formula of shutting down Juice’s offensive dynamo, Salman Riyaz, keeping him completely off the score sheet. Orange did make this match more interesting as they came back from down 1-0 with 3 mins left to force overtime, and then tied it 2-2 with only seconds remaining to push it to shootouts. Unfortunately they could not complete the comeback and lost in the first round of extra shooters.
Now on to the BIG SHOW!
This year’s final kicks off at 5:10pm featuring fresh colours as the 3rd seed Aquaholics in the blue corner face-off against the 5th seed Chairman Lee’s Team in the red corner. A lot separated these two squads in the regular season as Blue sported a plus-13 differential compared to Red’s minus-14 differential. These teams only faced off once this season, a lop-sided 5-1 victory for the Aquaholics. The stats seem to favor the Boozers but as has been the case all season, the Red Army can’t be discounted due to their ability to play up to their competition and eliminate key opponents. The Blues will likely turn to their veteran leaders and reigning champions as Alyssa Vergata, Ed Ostanski, and Tracey Miller will look to make it two titles in a row. Tracey, a league sophomore, has yet to miss the league finals and can now officially be deemed a good luck charm as her home-made banners have lifted the spirits and level of play of all her squads. Meanwhile fans of Andrew Lee and Rhys Degrave will be happy to note that one of them is guaranteed to finally win their first title as they participate in their 11th seasons, sitting 5th and 6th respectively in all-time league games played. The rest of the league will be watching intently as the victor is determined so that they can quickly move on to drowning their memories of what could have been. Speaking of which…
The final game will be followed by the annual league windup, a monumental bash that will begin at the Winn City Pub in the Quality Hotel at 635 Pembina Highway. Don’t miss a chance to re-hash good times with teammates and opponents over league-provided dinner. The drinks will be flowing as prizes and awards are announced. The party will continue through the night with ensuing un-official venues to be determined.
It has been a joy reviewing this season’s action for all the readers. Here’s to the next great season in 2018!
XOXO Gossip Guy (to be revealed)
Before we look ahead to this week’s exciting matchups, we take a moment to remember the fallen teams that are no longer with us in pursuit of a championship title.
Make Angelo Grape Again (Captains Angelo Phills & Melissa Kernaghan) – The first team eliminated this season, this talented squad was unable to reach their potential as an early-season favorite, which sentenced them to a match-up against the league’s top seed. Their 5-2 loss ended a game that was never out of reach but after a season of porous defense and stellar offense, their inability to keep up with Orange’s offense shockingly resulted in their demise.
Argent Slaughter (Captains Chris Gesell & Casey Berthon) – Another underdog in their matchup, this balanced team also never seemed to reach their potential, starting off strong but falling to 7th place. Although they were able to stay very competitive against strong teams including the Green team that ultimately eliminated them, they could not seem to close out wins or capitalize on chances. In control of play for the majority of their 4-1 loss to Green, those lost chances spelled the end for them.
The E-Lemon-Ators (Captains Kirk Vandersteen & Brooke Wilde) – The only top seed eliminated from the playoffs, this team started the season underestimated and forced the rest of the league to show them respect. Creating headlines all season for their consistent play in tight games, they built a reputation for a high-tempo speed game that burned tired opponents late in games for timely wins. Ironically, their final match was a reversal as they gave up a 4-2 lead vs. Team Red, their victims from two weeks prior, and suffered a heartbreaking loss in shootouts, making Selena Leung’s 50th GWLMISL match one to forget.
No Cream, No Sugar (Captains Kyle Kusiak & Stephanie Fraser) – A team built on grit and explosive offense, they also failed to match lofty expectations, dwelling at the bottom of the league standings and, surprisingly, struggling to generate offense. The tables seemed to turn after their co-captain returned from a long-term injury, the offense got rolling, and they jumped up to 6th place. Much like their late game comeback vs. Team Blue, it was too little too late as they barely fell 4-3 to be eliminated.
They may be lost but they will never be forgotten, largely because this new-found two-week rest will have them primed for memorable shenanigans at the annual league windup. Now on to the semifinals!
The first match has the Aquaholics facing off against the Hulk-a-maniacs. This match fit for a league final features arguably the two most well-balanced teams all season, with no holes to poke in either of their lineups. Both these squads squeezed into the semifinals by the scruff of their necks (although the score for the Hulk-a-maniacs suggests otherwise), but facing superior opponents this week, they’ll both have to up the ante. The Green Machine won both prior matchups, 6-3 and 3-1, but playoffs are a different animal. Gang Green does have the edge in rule-enforcement strength as nit-picking know-it-alls Scott Van Hellemond and Gordon Yestrau will be sure to catch any error by the referee or league columnist. That could prove a thorn in the side of Blue’s aggressor Sam Miller, as she tip-toes the line between tackle and foul. Last week however she was the architect of the Boozers’ win as she set up their first two goals en route to a 4-3 victory. All eyes will be on her as she attempts to manufacture another victory and take her squad to the big show.
The 2nd semifinal matchup has the season-long dominating Juice Is Loose facing off against their only kryptonite, Chairman Lee’s Team. The Juice poured in another confident performance to secure their semi-final berth, a match one would expect to be relatively easy. However, Orange’s only two losses that mattered this year (the only other loss being a throw-away after they had already clinched 1st place) have both come against a Red team that seems to know how to get under their skin. Was their 0-2 record this season vs. Lee and friends not enough to cause worry, they may be concerned by the fact that Red seems to have exorcised their demons by securing a dramatic, late come-from-behind elimination win after a stretch of struggles closing out games. The comeback was capped as Stephanie Sanford casually buried her shot in penalties, ensuring her 50th league game would not be her last this year. We fall short of naming Chairman Lee’s team the favorites in this one but as possibly the only team capable of slowing the Orange Assassins down, one has to like their chances of booking a trip to the finals!
The playoffs have officially arrived! Wipe the slates clean and start again because the last 13 weeks were nothing but a warm-up. The heat is dialing up both outside and inside the Canlan complex thanks to a lack of A/C at field level and a wide-spread hunger for victory as all games from here onwards are sudden-death. Lose and you go home. Win and you also go home… but as a winner.
The first death match pits regular-season basement dwellers Make Angelo Grape Again against common betting favorites The Juice is Loose. The Purps may have finished last but with one loss in their last 3 games and the highest scoring offense in the league over the final four weeks, they are entering the playoffs at just the right time. The Juicers dropped two of their final four matches, but may show up as a different beast now that they finally have a reason to win again. Their co-captain Jean Fillion will likely be restricted to coaching duties for the balance of the playoffs, but with blue-line successor Mark Pomehichuk having already equalled his predecessor’s goal total in only 1 game, the orange appear ready to roll on. They hold the advantage in regular season play, having beaten the Grapes 6-4 and 6-3 in Weeks 2 and 9, but the scorelines are deceptive. These games remained close until late. Given Angelo’s team’s late season upswing, highly diversified offense, and new-found strong attendance, this game looks to be anything but lop-sided.
Match #2 has Argent Slaughter visiting Hulk-a-maniacs FC in round three of the 1980s WWF duel. Despite pitting 2nd place vs. 7th, this is yet another game with no favorite as the combined score in these teams’ prior two encounters was 11-10. Sargent Chris Gesell and his troops allowed the Hulksters to pound their way back into the first match to earn a highly controversial tie, while failing to return the favor in Week 12 as the Green Machine clung to their 5-1 lead for a 7-6 victory. Great Scott’s gang has won their last two games while the Nickelbacks have dropped their last two, but this rivalry is sure to produce sparks and excitement as they determine who gets the last laugh.
The meat in the standings sandwich, 4th and 5th place do battle in game #3 with the E-lemon-ators vs. Chairman Lees’ team. Tied with team Purple for most goals over the past 4 weeks while riding a league-best active 4-game win-streak, the Yellow-bellies have been led by offensive catalyst Brian Sakala and his league-leading 16 points over that span. The E-lemon-ators have quietly become the team nobody wants to face, having secured every win in their current streak from key last-minute goals. The Chairman’s team is riding a different trajectory, on a league-leading 3-game losing skid as they have dropped all their games since their 2nd victory over table-topping Team Orange. Struggling from significant absences and a perceived lack of motivation, the Red Devils have shown the ability to play up to the moment, performing best against top teams. With their season on the line, they have yet to encounter a better reason to play to their potential, setting up for a true barn-burner. Having split their season series 1-1, this game stands to be unpredictable as any, and certainly won’t be over until the buzzer sounds.
Finally, we have a bruising elimination matchup between No Cream No Sugar and the Aquaholics. The 6th seed Joes jumped out of the bottom seed by closing out the season with a win but might still be perceived as underdogs to the casual onlooker. However, with only 1 loss since the beginning of June they have in-fact been stronger of late than the 3rd seed Boozers. The Blue Bombers obliterated the Coffee Queens 5-0 in week 1 as the latter struggled out of the gate, but the gap closed as Blue’s Week 8 victory was a close-fought 3-2 affair. Nevertheless, even that match took place before Black’s momentum swing as it marked Captain Kyle Kusiak’s return from injury which would eventually lead to his run of 8 goals in 4 games to close the season, more than his entire team scored in its first 4 games. As the Bland Beverages continue to charge full steam ahead, the formidable Aquaholics must find a way to re-gain their mid-season effort level in time to survive one more week.
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The final week of the regular season is upon us! While much of the rankings have been decided, this week remains the final chance for teams to tune up and enter the playoffs with momentum, while hoping to avoid injuries. Week 12 was an ugly week on the latter front with one of the league’s scarier incidents in recent history as Matthew Lehotsky’s suffered a broken fibula, while Jean Fillion suffered a torn ligament in his ankle. On the bright side they are both healing up and looking forward to tearing up the pitch again in the near future.
Week 13 kicks off as the E-Lemon-ators do battle with Argent Slaughter. One of the few games this week with true playoff implications, the victor in this matchup will also decide who finishes highest in the standings between the two teams and could land home-field advantage in the quarterfinals (pending results of the Chairman’s game), while a tie would be enough to keep the Yellow Submarine above the Nickelbacks. This is sure to be a tight match decided late as Argent followed their back-to-back ties with a 7-6 loss to Green, coming back from 5-1, while team Lemon made Chairman’s Lee’s team the latest in a list of late-strike victims as Andy Chan knocked back a winning goal with 6 secs left, putting away Brian “The Scorcerer” Sakala’s magnificent semi-bicycle feed. The Scorcerer proved this week that he can do it without key linemate Selena Leung, scoring a hat-trick in her absence (which included his 100th league point). The Silver Surfers meanwhile enjoyed an infusion of oft-absent alternate scoring as Mitchell Link and Lukas Bohun’s 4 and 3 point nights reminded the league that they can’t be taken lightly. This matchup will also be a chance for redemption as Selena Leung will look to level the score in her quest to keep up with Vivek Maharajh, who won their head-to-head matchup handily in Week 7 with a brace to help lead his team to a 4-2 victory.
The second match is a high-flying star-studded affair as the two top-ranked teams and two top scorers face each-other one more time. The Juice is Loose has already clinched the league title, and Salman Riyaz has clinched the scoring title (barring a 20-pt outburst by Gaetan Infantino in this match). The Hulk-a-maniacs have cemented their second place position, but would love to prove that their 4-2 loss to Orange earlier in the season was a one-off incident. In addition, with both these teams having won their games by slim 1-goal margins last week they will both be hungry to give their rosters one last shot of confidence by showing themselves that they can beat their toughest competitor. With the loss of captain Jean (Non-Handsome) Fillion for at least a few weeks, team Orange will be depending on co-captain Brianne “Frank” Labossiere’s on-field leadership and guidance to carry the team onwards.
The 7:10 slot features a tilt between Chairman Lee’s Team and No Cream, No Sugar, as the latter look to secure any points they can to avoid finishing the season in the basement. One can argue that last place may not be so bad as the poorest regular season team of 2016 went on to play in the finals, and their Orange jerseys are atop the league standings nearly one year later. Goalkeeper Alex Anspikian decided to take his team’s scoring woes into his own hands last week, setting up 2 of his teams 3 goals as they tied a newly hot Purple team in an unfortunately injury-shortened matchup. On the red side, Captain Stephanie Sanford, playing in her 50th league game, will be reminding her team not to quit too early like they have for two consecutive weeks by giving up goals for late losses, given a win this week keeps their hopes of home field advantage alive.
For the final match of the night, the Aquaholics play host to Make Angelo Grape Again, looking to make their lives a less great come playoff time. The Blues have locked up 3rd place and can’t move up or down, while the Purple Cobras are clinging to 7th place by a tie-break and will need to out-perform their Black-jersey’d rivals in order to avoid being the last seed going into playoffs. This means they will likely be leaning on their co-leading scorer, Roseline Bohemier, who in Week 11 struck her 50th league point making her the fastest female in history to reach that mark. They are facing a team of booze-hounds who have not won a match since the first week of June, but that may only be to their detriment as Blues captain and drill-sargent Alyssa Vergata will surely demand that her team recover their confidence by finding their winnings ways again before the season is over.
Attendance was strong as the league took to the mic for the annual karaoke night, featuring a seemingly never-ending list of memorable performers including Chris “Skee-Lo” Gesell, Shania and Billy Fraser, and a star-studded collaboration of Lady Killers performing Mr. Brightside. This week the league will return to its somewhat more tame ways as summer weather makes a comeback and the sun shines brightly on the Boston Pizza patio.