We had a wild weekend in Alberta, with over 30 teams participating in 2 ½ short days. Here is a rundown of each division’s action:
By Alex Morrison
In this 3 team division, the Red Deer Snipers Black was the cream of the division, winning all 4 of the games they played. The final saw them play against their club’s other team, the Snipers White. This one started off looking like it would be a similar game to the others the teams played, as the black team jumped out to a 2-0 lead. the white team was not giving up easily, though, as they tied the game 2-2 in the first half. The deflating goal came with :30 seconds left in the half, as Keaton Whitbread of the black team put one in the back of the net thanks to a Tristan Hoffus assist. The Snipers black added 2 more goals, finishing the game off with a 5-2 win.
Two very evenly matched teams in Sherwood Park Bullfrogs Black and the Red Deer Snipers faced each other in the final of this 4 team division. This contest started off as a sprint, as both teams played an up and down game at a relentless pace. Scoring chances were aplenty, and the teams converted a few of them, as 7 goals were scored in the first half on 30 shots! Dawson Weatherill of the Snipers played much of his half in the attacking zone, scoring all 4 goals for his team, and the Jordans, NARCh “veterans” Jordan Mis and Jordan Foote of the Bullfrogs combined to score all 3 of their team’s goals. In the second half, Foote added 2 more goals, but it wasn’t enough compared to goal and 2 assists added onto Weatherill’s total, a 7 point game, as the Snipers took this one, 7-5.
Pee Wee Division
This was the most evenly matched division I have seen in quite some time. The unfortunate neutralizer for some of the more talented teams was the condition of the concrete floor at the Kinsmen rinks. When it came down to the end, the two most talented teams in my opinion were playing in the final. The Alkali Empire from Edmonton and the Jr Outlaws from Red Deer, while playing a run and gun game, have enough talent on their respective squads to compete with the best of them, and compete they did. While the game played on Sunday ended up 7-6 in favor of Alkali, this seesaw battle could have gone either way. In the end, it was Empire’s goalie that made a couple big saves down the stretch to ensure their gold medal.
The largest division of the weekend, this 10 team group was an interesting mix of teams. Like the Pee Wee Division, all of these teams matched up fairly well against one another. The surprise for me was the Moose Jawbreakers, who played a solid team game, going undefeated in their 4 game initial round, and was the first team to qualify for the final on Sunday. The other team turned out to be the Red Deer 96 Jets, who upset the Northern Leafs on Saturday to secure their spot. The Jets took the momentum from that game right into the final, controlling the puck well, yet sending shot after shot towards the Jawbreakers net. After all of the dust settled, the undefeated Jawbreakers were no longer able to claim that, as they fell to a strong team who really seemed to have the knack for getting up for a big game! The Jets won by 2 goals, 8-6.
This division was split off of the combined Midget/Men’s Division, with th 2 age-eligible teams playing in a one game final on Sunday. The Phantoms were matched up against a Bantam team playing up a division, the Outlaws, who will be playing at the NARCh Finals in the Bantam Platinum division.The game started off slowly, even though the younger Outlaws controlled the puck for most of the first 10 minutes of play. Their possession finally paid off, as Joel Topping fired one home, giving the Outlaws the lead. Scott Feser of the Outlaws then took over the game, scoring the next 3 goals for his team, and with a 4 goal lead, the game was basically decided at that point, as the Outlaws cruised to a 6-2 win.
These 4 teams played some very high scoring games coming into this final, and the last game was no different. Sherwood Park’s 2 teams, the Majors and the Stealth battled it out for the gold medal on Sunday. This 27 goal, yes, 27 goal game had 3 Stealth players score hat tricks, as they won the game 15-12. An interesting outcome, to say the least. Brayden Stauch, Sammy Spurrell and Danny Rudd were the difference in the contest.