Game of the Week: Puckin’ Monkeys wins Tuesday Lower Championship

Puckin’ Monkeys, Tuesday Roller Hockey Lower Champions. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – T-shirts were on the line this past Tuesday when Puckin’ Monkeys and the Red Machine faced off in the Tuesday Roller Hockey Lower Championship. Puckin’ Monkeys took home the Epic Cup in a 3-0 victory. Puckin’ Monkeys G Zach Sutton posted a 22 save shutout and goals were scored by Robert Wolfe (2) and Matt Galey.

Wolfe got Puckin’ Monkeys on the board right away to start the second half as he squeezed a shot through a tight lane in the Red Machine defense to score. In true playoff hockey fashion, the first half was really competitive, each team had plenty of opportunities.  Shots were 6-2 through the first 11 minutes of the first half. In the back nine of the first half, Red Machine had a 9-5 shots advantage.

Out of a combined 28 shots amongst both teams (shots were tied 14-14 at half) only one hit the back of the net.

Action from the Tuesday Roller Hockey Lower Championship featuring Red Machine (red) and Puckin’ Monkeys (white). Picture by Franklin Heinzmann. 

History repeated itself as Wolfe scored again in a timely fashion to open the second half. It extended Puckin’ Monkeys lead to two. Puckin’ Monkeys held possession for the majority of the first half. Red Machine goalie Grant Syzmanek stood on his head keeping his team in the game. With 10:49 left in the game, Puckin’ Monkeys F Matt Galey scored their third and final goal on the power play. This in turn secured the Puckin’ Monkeys victory.

Final Score: Puckin’ Monkeys 3 Red Machine 0

Shots on Goal: Puckin’ Monkeys 25 Red Machine 22

In the last five minutes of the game the Red Machine put Sutton to the test as they tried to close the three goal gap, but Sutton stood tall. After the game, Sutton talked about his mindset which helped him stay focused to clinch the shutout.

“I thought we played tight as a team,” Sutton said. “I just tried to play my best and keep my head in the zone.” He also complemented Syzmanek for playing “…out of his mind.”



Picture by Roger Collins.

Congratulations to Helltwigs (pictured) for winning the Tuesday Roller Hockey Mixed Championship.

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Castronova leads Hellagoods to their fourth straight title

Hellagoods Championship Team pictured: Back row (left to right) Sam Castronova, Adam Huard, Eric Flynn, Derek Mcgee, Alex Seifert, Noah Huard, Mike Austin.   Front Row (left to right) Kyle Roy, Dean Thompson, Robert Malave, Leseaon Washington.

The matchup was set, the trophy was polished and the top teams in our flag football top division were ready to duke it out for the title. It was three-time defending champs Hellagoods (#2) against Dynamite (#1) in a game that was way too close to call. Both teams had a 9-2 record, but it was Dynamite who had beaten Hellagoods twice out of their three meetings in the regular season. The matchup was even closer when you looked at the quarterback comparison. League MVP Bobby McConnell, had a terrific semifinal game against No Fly Zone. Dynamite’s number one seed record was largely due to Bobby’s clutch play down the stretch of games with two walk off wins on the season. MVP runner up Sam Castronova (very narrow runner up at that) was terrific in every game he played for Hellagoods in his debut season at Epic Center. The only negative aspect of Castronova’s season was his inability to be at all their games. Hellagoods only losses on the season were in games where Castronova was not present.


Castronova was able to make this game, and Dynamite knew this was bad news for their defense. Sam looked sharp on his first drive, but a very poor drop from Derek McGee on fourth down gave the b-ball to Dynamite in great field position. Dynamite could not do anything with that field as it was a quick four and out for Bobby’s offense to start their night. Hellagoods took over and Sam hit his first big play of the night. On second and long Castronova avoided a rush in his face from Stanley and threw a perfect ball off his back foot to wide open Dean Thompson. Dean made no mistake in securing the catch and the game’s first points. Castronova was unable to avoid the rush on their PAT and the score was 6-0 midway through the first half. Dynamite’s poor start continued with an interception thrown to Derek McGee on their next drive. However, Dynamites defense played very well on four straight plays and gave the ball right back Bobby with plenty of time on the clock. A conventional four play drive then ended with a Bobby to Bobby connection from four yards out to tie the game at 6. The half ended with a predictable tie score line of 6-6.


Dynamite looked to be in the drivers seat with the ball to start the half, and their offense grabbing all the momentum to close out the first half. But after just two plays, the momentum completely shifted in the snap of a finger. Bobby tried to run a screen play to Josh Salada, but a very poor throw from Bobby put the ball right into Eric Flynn’s hand who had nothing but ten yards between himself and a pick-six. Flynn made no mistake and took the INT to the house and gave Hellagoods a lead they would not relinquish. The points kept coming for Hellagoods defense as on the next drive an errant snap from center Bobby, ended in a safety for Hellagoods. The worst part of the safety was not the two points given up, but the immediate give of the ball back to the red-hot Hellagoods QB Sam Castronova. On the second play of their next drive, Sam hit team captain Noah Huard over the middle for a short gain. Noah was then able to take that 5-yard slant pass, make one move and then bolt to the end zone for a 60-yard touchdown. Dynamite was able to answer back quickly, but with the short flag football clock it was already too little too late. The final score was 34-14 and Hellagoods had secured their unprecedented fourth straight Epic Center flag football title.


Hellagoods had producers across their entire team that could have been selected for player of the game. Sam played another solid game going 15-23 for 286 yards and four touchdown passes.  Dean Thompson had the best receiving numbers with three catches for ninety-one yards and two scores.  Eric Flynn had two total touchdowns with a pick six and a short touchdown on his only catch on offense.  Mike Austin also had one of his best games of the season finishing with a game-high four flag grabs.  Hellagoods has officially committed to next flag football, and to possibly grab a fifth straight championship.  Dynamite will not return until next years winter session, but I am sure they will be ready for another title run.

Game of the Week: Helltwigs blow past Team Wheels in playoffs 

Helltwigs forward Eric Scheck (left) zipping to the goal with Team Wheels goalie Evan Crage (red) waiting. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Helltwigs and Team Wheels faced off in the first round of the Tuesday Roller Hockey Mixed playoffs. In each of their two matchups in the session, Helltwigs won both times but only by a goal in each game. In Tuesday night’s game, history did not repeat itself as Helltwigs won by a score of 8-5, outshooting them 41-25. Helltwigs F Jeromy Heckler had a game-high with five goals.

The first half was pure Helltwigs dominance. Helltwigs had a 11-3 SOG advantage through the first ten minutes – three of them hit the back of the net. Two from Heckler and one from Scott Matthews gave Helltwigs a 3-0 lead. Just 12 seconds after the third goal was scored, Nick Zorgalski got Team Wheels on the board to make it 3-1. Helltwigs then closed the first half on 4-0 run. Heckler added another two and Eric Sheck scored his first of the night.

At halftime the score was 7-1, Helltwigs. SOG were also in favor of Helltwigs, 23-10. I was particularly impressed with how Helltwigs’ defense was able to shut down Team Wheels F Jacob Schiffman. He compiled 44 points (25+19) to lead all of Tuesday Roller Hockey Mixed during the session, but was neutralized in this game.

Helltwigs forward Jeromy Heckler (#20) on the edge of the circle in the Team Wheels (red) zone. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.

After Helltwigs struck rather quickly to open the second half, Andy Clark scored to make it 8-3 with 14:09 left in the game. With 12:28, Helltwigs earned a power play. This added to Team Wheels’ misery, but Mike (no last name) was able to score a shorthanded goal on a breakaway to cut Helltwigs lead to four.

Slowly but surely, Team Wheels was in the process of mounting a comeback. Mike’s goal prompted Helltwigs to call a timeout. Team Wheels was bringing the heat and getting pucks deep, but after the timeout that changed. Helltwigs wasted the game away by playing keep away, zapping any chance Team Wheels had of continuing their comeback.

Final Score: Helltwigs 8 Team Wheels 5

Shots on Goal:  Helltwigs 41 Team Wheels 25


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Game of the Week: BCC pulls away from Canaries

BCC Soccer’s Jared Greer (Blue #9) sends in a free kick against BBS Canaries (yellow). Picture by Franklin Heinzmann

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – BCC Soccer (BCC) and the BBS Canaries faced off las Tuesday night. Coming into the game, they were second and third respectively in the Tuesday Men’s Soccer Lower standings. The game was played in the 11 p.m. slot. Players from both teams mentioned to me how draining it is to play in the last game of the night, but were excited to be covered in the Game of the Week. BCC was able to overcome the Canaries, and playing in the 11 p.m. game, to win 5-2.

Both goalkeepers, brought their A-game in the first half. Alex Jordan, the BCC goalkeeper, pitched a shutout in the first half, and even got an assist. Gustavo, the Canaries goalie, stood as tall as The Mountain (shout out to the Game of Thrones fans on ECSR) in net and showed his flexibility to make some tough saves. He conceded two goals in the first half.

Aji scored the first of BCC’s two goals in the first half when he put a shot off the post and in with 6:05 left in the first half. Bonye Lumbanraja scored the second goal. With about three minutes left in the half, Jordan sent a goal kick up the field, it bounced so far that it ended up being a through ball for Lumbanraja, who jumped, and headed the ball while colliding with Gustavo to score and make it 2-0.

At halftime, BCC’s 2-0 lead remained. The Canaries had a 13-10 SOG advantage, and they came out on a tear to start the second half.

BBS Canaries (yellow) taking the penalty that they’d eventually convert. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.

Just a minute into the second half, the Canaries converted a penalty kick to make it 2-1. With 18:19 left in the game, they tied the game thanks to a goal by team captain Thiago Matos. He turned on the jets to blow by two BCC defenders before scoring. The Canaries would’ve scored a third goal just a minute later, but it was waved off due to an offside call. Two goals (three if there weren’t offisdes wasn’t a thing) in is quite the way to kick off a half.

With 12:08 left in the game, BCC’s Mike scored a header off of a throw in to regain his team’s lead. Just two minutes later BCC doubled their lead when Yande Chabala scored his first of the night with 10:05 left. Chabala injured Gustavo in the process, but Gustavo would go on to prove he was just fine. He made a great save to nullify a BCC 2 on O.

Austin M. put the nail in the coffin with 6:50 to go in the game when he scored his league leading fifteenth goal of the session for BCC. Usually nails aren’t put into the coffin until much later in the game, but by the time Austin scored that goal everyone had been drained from playing in the 11 p.m. game. Only five shots were put on target by both teams combined after Austin M. scored his team’s fifth goal.

Final Score: BCC Soccer 5 BBS Canaries 2

Shots on Goal:  BBS Canaries 21 BCC Soccer 19

 After the game, BCC defender Jared Greer talked about how resilient his team was in the 5-2 victory.

“We hung tough,” Greer said. “We talked at half, and said ‘2-0 is the worst lead in soccer.’ What do you know we give it up, but I’m really proud of how we battled through it to get the win.”

BCC Soccer plays league leader NYE next Tuesday at 9 p.m. BBS Canaries plays Team Team Team just beforehand at 8 p.m.


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PLAYOFF PREVIEW (Lower Division)

#1 Mega Chargers (10-0)

Mega Chargers (black) set up a screen play against the Braves. Picture by Sean Goodwin

One of the most dominating teams I have witnessed here at Epic Center, Mega Chargers steam rolled through every opponent they faced this session. With wins as large as 90-0, and 65-0 it was clear early on that this team belonged in the upper division. The team had such an embarrassment of riches, that their best option at quarterback did not even play quarterback for the team.  Joe Scibilia was a former high school quarterback who decided during the first game that he would let his brother Nicholas Scibilia play the position.  Honestly they could have fooled me as to who was the star quarterback in high school.  Nicholas put up terrific QB numbers every week and it started week one against Southside where he went 15-17 for 404 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions.  The other Scibilia brother Mike, was easily the most unstoppable option at receiver I have ever seen for flag football.  Mike finished with an outstanding 20 touchdowns in just 10 games played.  The true reason this team was so dominant was their consistent talent across the board.  Their captain Don Yavicoli was top eight in touchdowns and interceptions for the entire league.  The defense was led by the league sack leader Tom, former Celtics player Tim Rosaci and Tony who racked up 10 sacks in just six games.  The consistent play from role players like Tyler Graham, Jon Hughes, Donald Busch, and Matt Cassick were all important in their season of near perfection.


Nicholas Scibilia (9 GP)- 126-179 70%/ 2,894 Yds/ 53 TDs 8 INT


Mike Scibilia




#2 Team No Name (5-5)

Damon Powell (Green) captains a Team No Name team against Dynamite. Picture By Sean Goodwin


A former 3-0 team, Team No Name had a great start to their season but struggled mightily when it came to their late games against top division teams. Led by their captain/quarterback Tito, Team No Name was a returning team who I had not seen at Epic since last year. The team was full of epic regulars like Damon Powell, Tony Rivera and Michael Castro.  These three were Tito’s main receiving core after Yusef B stopped showing up to the games around week three.  Yusef was the most talented player Team No Name had on their team, and I could tell they really missed his presence in the later weeks of the session.  Following their 3-0 start, the team went on to go 2-5 in their next seven games.  This included two bad losses to Mega Chargers, and losses to both Hellagoods and Dynamite.  A major reason for the poor end of the season was on the defensive side of the ball.  Defensive lineman Avery, and Danny saw their production fall to just two sacks between them in the final five games.  Their cornerbacks Castro, and Rivera were solid, but a lack of consistent safety play from Mo Saleh and others let opposing teams score from anywhere on the field in the second half of the season.  If Team No Name is going to have any shot against Mega Chargers in the final, I believe it is going to have to start with their offense.  If they can field a full team and Tito can use his legs just as well as his throwing arm in certain situations, I believe Team No Name has very good shot at shocking the Epic Center world.


Tito (8 GP)- 95-169 56%/ 1369 Yds/ 20 TDs 8 INT/ 3 Rushing TDs




Michael Castro


#3 Southside (3-7)

rock the
Southside QBs John Gravius (left blue) and Aaron Shaw (right blue) talk it up following a play against Hellagoods. Picture by Sean Goodwin

It was the second straight session for Southside here at the Epic Center. Unfortunately, it was a second straight unsuccessful season for the team.  Their three wins came against Vengeance who went 0-10 on the year.  It seemed like a completely different Southside team whenever they had to play a team other than Vengeance.  Their usual quarterback Aaron Shaw gave up the position to John Gravius in week 7.  John played well in his three games at QB, but there is only so much you can take from a win against Vengeance.  Southside gave up the most sacks in the entire league last session, and the poor O-line play continued during this session.  This led to minimal big plays from their offense, and other than Tyler Ciemny there was almost no deep threat at all when it came to their passing game.  Aaron Shaw and Ciemny tried to get a running game going in most of their games, but they had very little success on their running play.  The bright spot of their season came in the form of Kenny Nowak who led the league in interceptions. Nowak tallied his total of seven interceptions by week eight, and was also a strong presence for their offense as he finished the session with five touchdowns.  Even with all the losses and blowouts at the hands of the upper division teams, Tyler Ciemny still had a productive season with seven touchdowns on the year.  Southside will play Team No Name in the first round of playoffs, a team they went 0-2 against in the regular season.


Aaron Shaw (7 GP)- 80-131 61%/ 899 Yds/ 8 TDs 9 INTs

John Gravius (3 GP)- 43-66 65%/ 619 Yds/ 8 TDs 2 INTs


Tyler Ciemny


Kenny Nowak


#4 Vengeance (0-10)

The record says it all as Vengeance was the team on the bottom when it came this past session. The poor plays started with their revolving door at the quarterback position.  Almost every player on the team got a shot at quarterback and it is difficult to say who was the best and who was the worst.  The team was led by the Rager brother trio of Will, Robert, and Drew, as well as Voss brothers Nick and August.  August was there most impressive player in terms of talent. August finished the season with six touchdowns.  Another bright star on the team was Patrick who had some very impressive interceptions against some very good quarterbacks.  Vengeance just looked completely out matched when they had to play anyone other than Southside.  Southside and Vengeance were actually pretty even when it came to overall team talent.  This showed in the games they played against each other which were only single digit win margins for Southside.  Vengeance’s best game came in their last week against Southside where they lost by only two points on a last minute play.  Vengeance will have to meet up with Mega Chargers in the first round of the playoffs.  Their last game against Mega Chargers ended in a 90-0 score so it is a classic David versus Goliath matchup.


N/A (too many different quarterbacks)


August Voss









PLAYOFF PREVIEW (Upper Division)

The flag football regular season came to a close this past Monday. Hellagoods and Mega Chargers both won in convincing fashion as they have many times throughout the season.  Instead of writing an article on the final games, I have decided to bring back the playoff preview for all football teams playing this session. The articles will continue once playoffs begin this coming Monday.


Upper Division Teams

#1 Dynamite (8-2)

Dynamite offense (red) prior to a snap in a previous game this session. Picture by Sean Goodwin

Dynamite had one of the best seasons I have witnessed for a rookie team playing here at Epic Center. Led by their QB Bobby McConnell, Dynamite were the most consistent team in the upper division.  If you were to take away a week 3 loss to Hellagoods by only 12 points, Dynamite would have a 8-1 record with their only loss coming to the hands of the mighty Mega Chargers.  Other than consistent play from the quarterback position, Dynamite had the most consistent and deep receiving cores in the upper division.  Jeff Farr was top three in touchdowns on the year, and Ed Starr produced heavily in the weeks he was playing.  Their defense made big plays all year long with great flag pullers like Travis and Cowboy anchoring down the linebacking core.  Their defensive line play was led by sack masters Ed Harof, and Stanley who really picked up the production at the end of the season.


Bobby McConnell-       150-223 (67%)/ 2604 Yds/ 34 TD 9 INT


Bobby McConnell




#2 Hellagoods (8-2)

Hellagoods offense (black) prior to a snap in a previous game from this session. Picture by Sean Goodwin

Hellagoods finished with a tie for the best record with Dynamite, but lost the tie breaker due to their head to head losses against Dynamite. Hellagoods had another good season for the fourth straight session I had been covering, but this will be their toughest task yet if they are going to repeat again as champions.  The year started off with some trouble as Hellagoods regular quarterback Ford declared himself out for the season due to some nagging injuries.  I knew they would not have to worry about the quarterback position when I first watched their replacement play.  Sam Castronova was a true college quarterback, and every game he played for Hellagoods he did not disappoint.  However, he was not able to attend many of their late season games which led to two big losses against Dynamite without Sam under center.  Other than the quarterback position Hellagoods got consistent top-level play from all of their usual producers.  Noah Huard and Kyle Roy dominated the defensive line once again finishing in the top four for sacks in the whole league.  Robert Malave produced big time plays at numerous positions throughout the season.  Malave ended up being their best number two option at quarterback, overtaking Derek Mcgee due to outstanding performance in Hellagoods final couple games.  Alex Seifert had a breakout season finishing second in touchdowns in the entire league.


Sam Castronova(6 GP)-   114-155 (74%)/ 1935 Yds/ 30 TD 2 INT


Alex Seifert- 13 Total Touchdowns


Noah Huard- 11 Total Sacks



#3 Buffalo Braves (3-7)

Braves defense (orange) in a game from this previous session. Picture by Sean Goodwin

It was disappointment after disappointment for the Braves this season. This was easily the worst record I have seen the Braves put up since I started covering these flag football games a year ago.  They were a collective 0-7 against the top four teams in the league.  There were many reasons for the collapse of the Braves this season but it starts with their quarterback Chris Lonzi’s performance in those important games.  In the seven losses Lonzi had a combined completion percentage of just 48 percent.  Of course, this statistic is not just on Lonzi as there were unbelievable drops made across the board by Braves receivers.  Lonzi actually tied for the lead in touchdowns on the team, and this was just his rushing touchdowns.  Damon Powell did not have a very productive season, and former touchdown leader John Helbringer just did not provide the deep threat he once did.  Yusef B. was a player who produced in a big way for the team in first two weeks, and then did not return for any of the games remaining in the season.  This left a large hole on the offensive and defensive side for the Braves in which they really could just not fill.  However, anything could happen in the playoffs, and the Braves actually had two losses to Hellagoods and Dynamite in which they only lost by one point. Hopefully we will see the Braves of old when they playoffs start this week.


Chris Lonzi(9 GP)- 113-225 (50%)/ 1865 Yds/ 23 TD 13 INT

John H (1 GP)- 13-23 (57%)/ 207 Yds/ 3 TD 1 INT


Chris Lonzi


Mohammed Saleh



#4 No Fly Zone (3-7)

No Fly Zone’s championship photo from the early winter session. Picture by Sean Goodwin

It was a “come down to earth” season of sorts for No Fly Zone. After dominating the lower division last session in similar fashion to the way Mega Chargers did this season,  No Fly Zone had a less than impressive first session in the upper division.  Their only impressive win came against the Braves who have struggled all season just as much as No Fly Zone did.  Their leader and star QB from last season James Cellotto could not perform at a high level against the tougher teams.  Cellotto was not even at the game where No Fly Zone defeated the Braves in their best game of the year. It got worse for Cellotto as the season went on as he had an absolutely abysmal performance in their final game of the season.  In a 46-8 loss to Hellagoods Cellotto went 3-16 with six interceptions before heading to the bench in favor of Eric Kleckler. No Fly Zone’s touchdown leader from last session, John Caie, was not present at almost half of their games, and No Fly Zones offense really struggled without him.  In the games where Caie did play he only managed to score two touchdowns which was nowhere near his 12 plus total from last session.  Derek Bongiovanni was the only player who really improved his game from their previous session.  Derek made at least one big play a game and finished with an impressive touchdown total for a 3-7 team with five touchdowns. Navvar Poole and Dave did have solid seasons of production on the defensive line, but could not figure out how to block proficiently went it came to the offense.


James Cellotto (8 GP)- 90-177 (51%)/ 1420 Yds/ 16 TD 13 INT


Derek Bongiovanni


Navaar Poole

Game of the Week: Queen City edges Invaders in a nail-bitter 

Action from Invaders (red) vs Queen City Bolts (white). Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.


WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Queen City Bolts and Invaders, two of the top five teams in Tuesday Roller Hockey Mixed, faced off in this week’s Game of the Week. It was a close game throughout, but it was Queen City Bolts won by a score of 7-6. The game was decided with 33 seconds left thanks to an Invaders’ own goal. Queen City Bolts forward Elliot Smith had six of his team’s seven goals.

Invaders’ Vincent Santoro scored the game’s first goal with 19:10 left in the first half on a breakaway. Smith followed that up with a goal of his own to tie the game at one apiece.

The first half was relatively slow in terms of scoring. At the 12-minute mark of the first half Queen City Bolts had an 8-6 shots advantage. Invaders forward Brian Z. scored with 10:20 left in the first half to make it 2-1. However, each team had great chances and the first half was action packed. Queen City Bolts were able to kill off an Invaders power-play. Invaders goalie Grant Szymanek made some great saves, including making one while getting run over by a Queen City Bolts forward.

At halftime the score was 2-1, Invaders. Each team had accrued 16 shots on goal.

A face-off from Queen City Bolts (white) vs Invaders (red). Picture by Franklin Heinzmann

The second half was back and forth right up until the final buzzer. With 19:02 left in the second half, Queen City Bolts were able to tie it up. Invaders’ Shawn Kemp scored just 45 seconds later to regain Invaders’ lead. Smith scored 14:25 left to make the score 3-3. Santoro scored again to make it 4-3 with a slap shot that pierced the top corner of the net.

In a stark contrast to the first half, Queen City’s forecheck was operating on all cylinders in the second half. It’s what led to the goal that earned Smith a hat trick. In his most highlight worthy goal of the night, Smith capitalized on an Invaders’ turnover, deked two guys and scored. It tied the game at 4-4.

Smith gave the Bolts their first lead of the night when he scored his fourth and the team’s fifth goal of the night with 5:21 left. Off the ensuing faceoff he scored again to make it 6-4. Invaders were able to respond quickly with a goal of their own. Kemp tied the game at six with 1:11 left. His goal prompted an Invaders timeout.

With 33 seconds left in the game, after a nice save by Syzmanek, Invaders had a defensive zone faceoff. They won it, only problem is they put the puck in their own net. The goal was credited to Smith and the score became 7-6, Queen City Bolts. Ultimately that was the deciding factor in the game, which gave Queen City the victory.

Final Score: Queen City Bolts 7 Invaders 6

Shots on Goal:  Invaders 31 Queen City Bolts 30


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