By: Lonny Lovins
I am back in my black NARCh polo today, after being off the last couple of days. I was on a playing hiatus, and I have to admit, I had some of the most fun I have ever had playing hockey. Since I was off duty, I got to watch a lot more hockey, and interact with a lot more players than normal, and the consensus that I got from everyone, is that they were having a great time.
The playoff games were really tight, with most of the games being decided by a couple goals or less. The teams that played were hard on each other, and the games were fought over with a fierceness that you rarely see out of the adults, but in the end, every game ended with respect and sportsmanship. Multiple times over the course of the tournament, I have seen teams find each other after the game to give an extra handshake, and show appreciation for a game well played. When I do the Gold wrap up, I will give the full skinny on the games, but for now I will give a little teaser of how the finals played out.
The Silver Division for Men’s is always interesting. There are a lot of teams that have the talent to play Gold Division, but they are just missing those one or two players to move up. However, the players they do have, make them a force in the division. The team that won the division, New York On Vacation, were a solid group, with a lot of good players. They may have been able to compete in Gold, and they were clearly the class of the division both on and off the rink. The team that took second, Labeda Shock, was a team that was mostly Silver level with the exception of their goaltender, and their big goal scorer #77. New York on Vacation was able to neutralize both of the Shock’s best players, as they beat them 8-4 to capture gold. The Mississauga Rattlers beat up on a tired Tendy Problems in the bronze medal game, as they skated to an easy 7-1 victory to keep from going home empty handed.
The Men’s Gold Division was a blast to watch as well. Most of the games I got to see were played right before mine, so I nearly always caught the end of the action. The Rinos Na-Palm, who are coached by Rich Garvey, have really made strides. They always play fast, and on the edge. The Rinos had a tough semifinal game, where they had to overcome a 3 goal deficit late in the game to force overtime. They would win in overtime and set up a date with another upstart team in Hot as Fire. Hot as Fire had some great goaltending in the playoff round, as they knocked off the top seeded Long Island team. The Gold Final was the lowest scoring final that we had, as neither team really did anything during regulation time. We went into overtime tied at zero goals apiece. In the overtime, the Rinos would finally get some real pressure, and score the game winner, giving them a 1-0 victory and the Men’s Gold Cup.
All in all it was a very entertaining and fun weekend. I am already excited about playing again next year, as no other tournament series offers what we do. We give everyone a great experience, from the kids, right on up to the adults. Players get benches to sit on when they change up, we have great hockey scoreboards, and our pucks don’t glow in the dark! In all seriousness though, we have the best referees, score keepers, and staff around, which is what makes the experience great for everyone. We are in the home stretch now, and I am looking forward to some great hockey this week.
Check back later for the Gold wrap up.