Unfortunately we missed the Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake kickoff last night, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been in our thoughts all day here at the rink. On that note, we will be using song names for the theme of today’s blog.
“Can’t knock the hustle” – The PeeWees came out flying this morning with two tightly fought games. Right out of the gate, we had the NCR Tour Elite playing against the Mississauga Mission Rattlers in our PeeWee Gold semi-final. The Elite team has been playing really tight defensively, and they were looking to continue the trend in this game with stingy defense and goaltending. The Rattlers lean heavily on great speed, and control as well as a stellar keeper. The Elite opened up the scoring in the 1st period, but they quickly got into penalty trouble. The Rattlers would score the equalizer on the power play. The Elite would again find themselves shorthanded midway through the 2nd period. The Rattlers would again find the net on the powerplay, and a cat and mouse game ensued. With around 2 minutes left the Rattlers would take an ill advised hook. The Elite would throw everything including the kitchen sink at the net, and eventually it would pay off, as they scored with 38 seconds left. Onto overtime…In overtime the teams would open up a bit and throw shots on net from both ends, until with about 6 minutes left in the overtime frame, the Elite would score on a nicely placed shot, to secure a spot in the peewee gold final.
“Empire State of Mind” – Our other PeeWee Gold semi-final feature the SIHA Stallions and the Tour Oakville Coyotes. The Coyotes, while technically the 2nd seed, had been putting together quite an offensive resume. All of the Coyote teams are pretty strong, and this PeeWee team has been the best of the group so far. The way these two teams had been scoring, many people including myself, felt this would be a classic “shoot out the lights” type of game. Don’t tell my wife I said this, but I was wrong. These teams played so disciplined defensively, that I wasn’t sure there would be any goals scored. The stalemate would be broken by the Coyotes, but the Stallions would equalize quickly and we would be back to a him and haw type of game. Toward the end of regulation, both teams would go into flurries and try to put the GW home, but to no avail. So for the 2nd time in 2 games, we were going to overtime. This overtime was just as tightly played as the rest of the game, until about 4 minutes left in the game, when an overzealous Stallions player would take an elbowing penalty. The Coyotes, with their patented control, would hold the puck in the Stallions zone for the 1st minute of the powerplay until the perfect pass presented itself, and the puck was deposited top shelf on the one timer. The Coyotes would take our 2nd spot in the final for PeeWees.
“Fallin” – The final would be a tale of two halves, and then a little more. The NCR Elite would score quickly in the game and put the Coyotes on their heels for much of the first half of the game. With a relentless fore check, and a lot of good finishing, the Elite would put two more goals in the net to go up 3-0. This is when the Coyotes would wake up. The Elite tried to shut it down defensively, but as with many other sports, the “prevent” defense only prevents you from winning. They would surrender 3 unanswered goals before the 2nd period would expire. So for the hat trick in the division, we would go to overtime again for the trophy. Overtime would be short lived, as a couple of turnovers, a blown coverage, and a great snipe would give the Coyotes the gold medal.
It was amazing to see the kids play so hard and push each other to the limits. It has been no different in our Jr. Gold division, where our seeding was so tight, that we had the last 3 seeds separated by 1 goal. There is literally no room for error in this division, and I look forward to seeing how the playoffs work out tomorrow.