Ace Hardware Eliminates Pull Tab Sports

by Pete Waggoner

Edina, MN - Ace Hardware and Pull Tab Sports opened the 2023 Celly League Playoffs with a play-in game featuring the 4th and 5th seeded teams.  No. 4 Ace Hardware held off a fast paced challenge from No. 5 Pull Tab Sports and cruised to a 7-1 win to advance to the semi-final round on Saturday against top seeded TRIA. 

Ace Hardware snapped a scoreless tie 18 minutes into the first half on Delaney Fleming’s first goal of the season. Fleming earned the Celly League’s version of the Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, assist and penalty. Four minutes later, back-to-back goals by Madison Bizal and Madison Brown about a minute and a half apart created some distance on the score sheet as they cruised on to the victory.  

The game had a playoff feel to it as both teams leaned on each other physically and the number of stick and board battles were at a premium in a league that has seen the level of compete increase each evening.  

Carly Greene carried the mail in goal for Ace Hardware logging the entire 60 minutes.  She kept Pull Tab Sports off the scoreboard for 59:52.9.  Denisa Krizova broke the shutout, ironically making the score 7-1 with 7.1 remaining on clock. Green turned aside 28 of 29 Pull Tab Sports shots in her near perfect effort.  

Ace Hardware had a steady parade to the penalty box committing five penalties of which the majority came in the defensive zone. There were stretches of pressure applied by Pull Tab Sports throughout the game and they had their chances on the power play yet Ace was 5-5 on the kill.  

Five players had two point games for Ace Hardware including a two goal effort from Brown.  A total of 12 players had a point or more for Ace.  They will need to lean on their depth on Saturday morning when they face off with top seeded TRIA at 10:40am from Braemar Arena in the first of two semi-final round games. TRIA won both regular games, the first a 3-2 shootout and the second game 6-5.