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Playoff Previews - "B" Division
(3) Vikings @ (2) Mickeys

Vikings: 7-4-1, 57 GF, 53 GA, +4 Dif.
Mickeys: 9-3-0, 53 GF, 36 GA, +17 Dif.
Vikings
Top 5 Scorers
Mickeys
Top 5 Scorers
Jeff Massullo 11-7-12-19
Fab Carella 8-13-5-18
Bob Haddon 11-2-5-17
Chad Lyons 11-6-8-14
Brent Lyons 9-7-6-13
Gurjit Dhaliwal 11-12-7-19
Iain Chima 11-9-7-16
Vinay Bahia 12-8-8-16
Robbie Toor 11-6-10-16
Paul Bahia 8-6-6-12

The Mickeys and Vikings split their two games this season, each winning one by two goals. The second game was an exciting 7-5 shootout, but it has been a while since these teams faced one another as that game was back in early May. The Mickeys earned the bye this season and were able to sit back last week and watch as the Vikings played a tough three games series versus the Black Aces. 

The Mickeys are another team with a potent offensive attack. They have some fast, extremely talented forwards, and a few hard shooting, mobile point men to give them a well balanced attack. Gurjit Dhaliwal is one of the game's most dangerous players who doesn't seem to get nearly as much attention as he deserves. After two spring seasons in the league, he is averaging better than two points a game, again leading the Mickeys in goals and points with 12 and 19, respectively. Iain Chima improved his numbers as well, finishing second on the club with 16 points and showed he has one of the quickest release slapshots in the league. His penalty minutes are of concern as they are with this entire Mickeys team that likes to play it on the edge. Paul Bahia had something of a statistical drop-off from last year but still is a dangerous player on every shift. Robbie Toor also put up some decent numbers with 16 points to tie Chima and Mickeys captain, Vinay Bahia. Bahia and Justin Dhaliwal provide a killer one-two punch from the point with their booming slapshots. Vinay actually led the division with 8 goals from the back end. Somewhat surprisingly the powerplay fizzled for the Mickeys this season at just 14.3 %, which was better than only the Blue Devils in the division

The Vikings actually scored four more goals than the Mickeys during the regular season which would lead you to believe that they are at least on even terms offensively. The offense was firing on all cylinders in the first round as the Vikings tallied 16 goals in the 3 games against the Black Aces who are generally considered a fairly strong defensive club. Jeff Massullo, who is one of those few defensemen actually capable of carrying a team, was up to his old tricks and is currently leading the post-season scoring race with 7 points through the first round. Angelo Marinelli combined well with his brother Tony to give the Vikings yet another dangerous brother act on top of Chad and Brent Lyons. Fab Carella is playing through the pain as he is far from 100% physically but he showed he can still be a dominant force in font of the opposition goal. The Vikings dominated the Black Aces in the slot area, a task that may be difficult to replicate against a physical Mickeys team. Edge: Draw

Based on regular season numbers, the Mickeys have a big edge in this category. The Mickeys tied the Executioners with just 36 goals allowed during the regular season for an average of exactly 3 per game. The Vikings, on the other hand, gave up 53 as some of their defensemen got caught up in the thrill of joining the offense a little too much. Both of these teams play with a physical edge so there is a good chance things could get out of hand at some point. The refs will definitely have their hands full with this match-up. The Mickeys are a team that pressures you all over the floor which always makes for good team defense. Edge: Mickeys

John Rubino did seem to get things back on track nicely after a rough second half to the regular season. He posted a 2.64 goals-against and an .873 save percentage. More importantly than the numbers were the fact that he seemed to be playing with confidence and was always square to the shots. He will likely be tested often against a Mickeys team that likes to take shots from all over the floor.

The main man for the Mickeys all season was Alam Cheema who received the lion's share of work, starting 10 games and posting an impressive 7-3 record. Having said that, there might be an interesting choice to be made as the other man the team qualified was Craig Hagan (Better known as Fram), who is not only an experienced playoff goaltender, but a man who put up crazy numbers in his two games of action. A 1.50 average and killer .942 save % beg the question as to whether or not he would be the man if available. You probably couldn't go wrong with Cheema though as he had a solid rookie season in the league. Edge: Mickeys

There is always discussion as to which team benefits more in the playoffs between a team that receives a bye and a team that plays in the first round. The Vikings seemed to gain confidence and refine their game against a Black Aces team that came out strong but seemed overmatched in the end. They almost certainly picked up some bumps and bruises in the series not to mention the strain of playing three games in three nights. As for the Mickeys, rust can sometimes be a factor for teams that receive the bye, but in this case it was only a single week break so that should be less of an issue. Special teams could be a big factor in this series as the Mickeys were short-handed more often than any team in the league giving up 49 powerplay opportunities in total. The Mickeys are a relentless team in all aspects and they will certainly be a handful for the Vikings. This series could easily go three games but my feeling is the Mickeys will prevail in the end. Edge: Mickeys








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