As is expected, the playoffs focus the mind and everyone comes to play – both games last night – hard play, everything left on the floor – 1 goal games, competitive to the last second – it’s what its all about – the drama of sport, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat… the sports cliches just roll out of the keyboard!

For the 1st game, lots of bodies for both sides, even the JKOW showed up 10 min early (must have thought the game was at 7:30 instead). Team Jacquie’s strategy of starting with Justin in net seemed to be horribly wrong as the Dirks scored 2 quick goals early and appeared to be dominating the Jacquies. But, these early goals only seemed to wake Justin up and he settled down to let his teammates claw back in to the game with 3 straight goals to end the 1st with Team Jacquie leading 3-2. They continued their run of goals in the 2nd scoring a couple more (5 in a row!) to hit the half way mark leading 5-2. With the goalie switch, would a 3 goal lead be enough? Maybe not, as Team Dirka quickly popped in 3 goals to tie the game at the end of 2 – 5-5. Playoff lacrosse – 1 goal could make the difference. In the 3rd, the teams exchanged goals and then Team Jacquie was able to figure Justin out for 2 more goals to pull into a seemingly comfortable lead heading into the last minutes of play. Team Dirka poured on the pressure and big MattV was able to find the lower corner of the netting with one of his patented pinpoint shots – Team Jacquie’s lead was looking a bit fragile and there were frantic discussions behind the glass on how to handle OT (or, heaven forbid…a shootout!). But the worry was all for naught, Team Jacquie was able to withstand Team Dirka’s last minute onslaught and held on to their lead – a well deserved 8-7 victory, breaking Team Dirka’s 4 year run of appearances in the LMHLL finals.

In the 2nd game, Team Blair’s attendance was looking pretty thin but a couple of late arrivals pushed the runner total to 5 and finally to 6 to start the game. On the other bench it was Team Lia looking a bit understaffed with only 2 spares – lots of running in this semi final game! With Shawn as a late cancellation Justin was called to play the double and the game was on! Team Lia opened the scoring early but Team Blair quickly responded. The teams then exchanged goals to end the 1st period tied at 2. In the 2nd, Team Lia scored in the first half of the period at were leading 3-2 at the goalie switch. In the 2nd half of the period Team Blair was able to score only once while Team Lia was able to put a couple more goals past Justin to exit the 2nd leading 5-3. Another close game – would Team Blair pick the right time to break their 8 game losing streak? In the 3rd Team Lia scored early to up their lead to 3 but as the game clock ticked away, Team Blair scored and scored again to pull within 1. A faceoff victory, a missed ball in the corner, possession to Team Lia and the clock runs out on a nail biting Team Lia victory 6-5.

In the goalie wars Justin (as usual) won both his “games” with only 5 goals allowed in both his games.

On to next week, the glittering finals of LMHLL 2016 season – the all out battle for the coveted championship trophy. Lots of human (?) interest here – Can Team Jacquie build on their regular season success to reclaim the ultimate prize after their ignominious performance in winning the  SilverBedpanToiletBowlLoser trophy in 2015. Can Team Lia defend their 2015 (Team Sparkle) Cinderella  LMHLL MemorialBraggingRightsUsedBallOfTape Award trophy? Can Team Blair break their 9 game death spiral and defend their  EveryWinnerHasToGetSomethingChampionOfTheLosersRound Bronze Award (Girl’s Lax Bobblehead version) trophy?  Can Team Dirka salvage something from the 2016 season – always close but just not able to seal the deal? You’ll have to come out to Kinsmen in person next Wednesday as TSN and Sportsnet have indicated that there will be local blackouts on both game broadcasts – apparently Pay-per-View negotiations are ongoing.

Next week, THE FINALS, Wednesday, August 31, 2016 Kinsmen Arena

EveryWinnerHasToGetSomething Trophy Game

Team Blair  vs  Team Dirka     8:00pm  – 9:00pm.

LMHLL MemorialBraggingRightsUsedBallofTape Championship Game

Team Jacquie  vs  Team Lia    9:00pm – 10:00pm

See you there.