By Lonny Lovins
As we head toward the Squirt Gold skills competition, and the waining hours of day 4, I look back on the day we had and take a little pride in being a part of it. While there was a lot of running around, I get to take a second and reflect on some of the things I got to see.
We started off today with a couple of extra cups of coffee after having a few over time games push us back toward the hour of midnight last night. It took us a minute or two to get everything set up, but once we did, things started flying like they always do.
All of the kids are still really excited about the live stream, and being on television, but we added a little something extra today with the instant replay. It adds a pretty cool dynamic to the game, and it must have had an effect on the kids playing on the rink, because they were putting it all out there in every final.
In the Mite Club final, we had the SIHA Stallions and the Gladiators. Both of these teams played with a lot of heart throughout the tournament, and they did not disappoint during the final. The Gladiators kept the game close for a long time, but in the end the Stallions were just a little bigger and stronger. Final score Stallions 6, Gladiators 2.
In our Atom Silver final, between the Mission Bauer Bordercats and the Alkali Arsenal Detroit, we had a heck of a game. Both teams played really strongly throughout this entire game. Alkali scored late to go up by a goal, but the Bordercats came right back with a goal less than a minute later to push us to over time. Over time was a back and forth affair, with both teams getting good opportunities to score. The game winning goal came off of a fantastic effort by Alkali, as they pushed the puck forward and found a streaking player who scored on the breakaway effort. With Arsenal and the Bordercats taking first and second respectively, the Mission Stars completed the Detroit sweep of the division as they took the Bronze medal.
The Midget Silver final, not to be outdone by the little guys, played out in similar fashion. The Grizzly Chompers from Waterloo played against the Detroit Mission Stars. This game was the epitome of hard work and tight checking from the start. The Chompers were playing from behind most of the game, but managed to find the equalizer with just under a minute of play. We would be going to overtime for the second game in a row. Overtime in this game would be just as exciting as the game before, as both goaltenders would have to make saves to keep their teams alive. Unfortunately momentum is a fickle friend, and while the Detroit Mission Stars held their friend close for most of the game, she jumped ship late and headed over to the Chompers side. The Chompers hounded the net throwing a flurry of pucks on goal. Eventually there were just too many saves to be made, and not enough defensive sticks around to clear the puck. The Chompers jumped on a loose puck and fired it home for the game winner. The Chompers took the gold, with the Stars taking the silver, and the bronze medal would end up going to the 495ers from Long Island.
For our Mite Platinum final we had a meeting of teams from earlier in the tournament. The Alkali Arsenal Detroit played against the Tour Oakville Coyotes. This game was a lot closer than the score would suggest as the Coyotes, who had been mercied by the Arsenal earlier in the tournament, kept this game really close for a long time. With about 8 minutes left in the game, the score was 5-3 with the Coyotes putting on a lot of pressure. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, the Arsenal came to life and ended up scoring 6 unanswered goals in the next few minutes to end the game. The Arsenal would take a gold medal with the mercy, with the Coyotes taking the silver, and the Tour Roadrunners rounding out the top 3.
Skills are coming up next, and as we move toward the more skilled divisions I am looking forward to seeing some great skating and even greater moves.
The games were all really exciting, and with all the running around we are doing to continue to put on the best tournament around, I am going to cut it short here so that my fingers don’t end up being as tired as my feet. More tomorrow!