The Goliaths came to the South Region semis ready to play.
Their obstacle: Top seed Malvern Black Knights.
For East York forward James Stavridis, it meant a joust to the finish.
“We were really psyched up before the game,” he said. “We knew we weren’t going to get this handed to us.”
Their plan of attack was to cycle the puck, chew up turnovers in the neutral zone and spit them back into Malvern’s territory.
“We wanted to play well on defence, be a team that could get the puck up,” Stavridis said. “We focused on that, capitalized on our chances.”
It worked for the most part, flustering Malvern into the defensive.
Even after a power play marker by Red Knights’ Stephen Mighton via Andrew Hood and Curtis Anderson, the Goliaths would not turn tail.
Still in the first period, a deflection passed through Malvern’s Kevin Holmes by Josh Kim via Kyle Tanev would tie the game at twigs.
The second period saw Stavridis’ power play goal push East York ahead 2-1.
Still, the Black Knights were not going gently.
Malvern grinder Adrian Cristiano broke in on the wing and scored on Goliaths goalie Mitch McDonnell. Alex Mighton and Dylan Ciccarelli assisted.
“It was my first playoff game for Malvern and I was pretty fired up,” Cristiano said. “I just wanted to get out there, try and play my game.
“I was fortunate enough on one of my goals to get a nice pass from (Dylan) Minifie who worked really hard to get the puck out.”
Heading into the third with the game tied, Cristiano would score the game winner from behind then net. Assisting along with Minifie was Oliver Crighton.
Though Malvern’s third notch was deflating for East York, coach Rob Greco said his charges remained stalwart.
“They’re a tough team and we just wanted to keep it close,” he said. “If we kept it close that would give us a chance to win.
“Our guys played well, probably played their best game of the year, which was necessary.”
East York is not finished from contention. They were slated for a third place game against Northern, March 5, and won 4-2, earning them the final seed from the South for the city playdowns.