Atoms and Mites – We would like to thank everyone involved with Pro Elite Hockey. They produced two teams of 8s and 10s to be able to compete this weekend. We know the little kids had fun and were very excited to receive their big medals. Hopefully this program can continue to grow and develop young talent in the area.
Peewees – 5 teams competed in the peewee division. One of the best games of this division was the prelim game between the Goalzillas and the Hungry Howies that the Howies pulled out 4-3. This game shaped the way the championships would unfold, as the Hungry Howies would go on to play the Alkali Gamblers for the gold title, and the Goalzillas would face the Wellington Prowlers 12u squad for the silver title.
Unfortunately the peewee championships would be a little lopsided. The Gamblers had no problem defeating the Hungry Howies in the gold championship and kept their perfect record, winning all 5 games they played this weekend. They would also take home the individual honors, as #5 John Hunt won the high scorer award with 19 pts and Daniel Williamson would take home top goalie honors with an 84% save percentage.
Goalzillas would also win the silver championship in lopsided fashion against the Prowlers 12u. Got to hand it to the Prowlers though, they never gave up even though they’re 2 years younger.
Bantam Division – like the peewee divisions, the Alkali Gamblers would prove to be the team to beat. They breezed through the round robin and grabbed the #1 seed. The Roller Dawgs were 1-2 heading into their 4th game while the Misfits were 2-1. This last preliminary game would prove to be one of the best games of the division and have significant importance. A tie or win for the Misfits would land them in the gold championship and with a loss they would drop to silver. The game would be tied at 5-5 with just under a minute to go. With just :44 seconds remaining #36 Cameron Cipollone would find the back of the net for the Roller Dawgs and that goal would hold as the game winner, advancing his team to the gold championship.
The Alkali Gamblers were not challenged up to this point, but this championship game would prove to be their toughest. The Roller Dawgs left nothing in the tank and played hard. In the end though the Gamblers talent still prevailed, as they went on to a 5-2 win in the gold championship. #34 Devin Bilbrey had 2 goals and an assist in the final for Alkali.
The silver championship would match up two competitive teams, the Misfits and Scorpions. The first time out the Misfits came out on top, 3-1. The championship would also be a tight one. After the first half the game would be knotted, 1-1. The Misfits would score again, then the Scorpions would answer, keeping it tied at 2’s. The Misfits would go ahead once again, then add a late insurance goal by #96 John Batson, his second of the game. This is how the game would end, Misfits win the silver championship 4-2.
Men’s Division – This was by far the most competitive and entertaining division of the weekend. With 6 teams competing the division was split. The top 3 teams would battle for the gold title, while the 4-6 seeds would battle for silver. After the prelims UCF A would grab the #1 seed, Alkali Gamblers White #2, and Roller Bears #3. Alkali would have to face the Roller Bears to see who gets a crack at UCF A in the gold championship.
In their first matchup, the Gamblers defeated the Roller Bears 5-4. The Roller Bears are a bunch of guys that are in their mid-to-late 20’s and played themselves into shape as the tournament went on. You can tell they’ve all played at a pretty high level at some point by the way they moved the puck. In this rematch we would see our first playoff overtime of the weekend. Tied 2-2 we still couldn’t find a winner in overtime, so we went to a shootout to settle. Roller Bears goalie, Dan Herman, came up huge in the shootout and didn’t let up a goal. A couple of Roller Bears would score in the shootout, so the Roller Bears would advance to the championship.
Waiting for them in the gold final was a well-rested UCF Team that has looked strong all weekend. The Roller Bears had momentum though, so something had to give. We would be scoreless for most of the first half, but it would be the Roller Bears who would get on the board first. They would score another one late to take a commanding 2-0 lead into half. The bears would quickly go up 3-0 in the second half, but UCF would battle back scoring two goals of their own, so just like that we had us a 3-2 game. #68 for the Roller Bears, Willian Boyle, would score his second of the game to put the Roller Bears up 4-2. UCF would score once more to close the gap to 4-3. UCF applied a lot of pressure and plenty of shots but didn’t have an answer for the divisions’ top goalie, Dan Herman. The Roller Bears took the title by the final of 4-3 in a very entertaining gold championship game.
UCF B would advance to the silver championship and face Alkali Gamblers 94 in our last championship of the tournament. This would be a high scoring back and forth battle with many lead changes. In the end the Gamblers would find the net 7 times. Cody Bryant, Paul Tolvo, and Kenny Tenzca would all have two goals each for the Gamblers, as they would outlast UCF B by a final of 7-5.
As always I enjoyed my few days here in Florida and the hospitality that everyone showed us. I’ve gotten to know many people here pretty well since the FINALS have been here so much. One of the familiar faces that I’ve always seen at our Florida Tournaments for many years is Tom Keepers. Unfortunately Tom is battling cancers, but still loves to be around the sport and the kids. He was on the bench for the Alkali Gamblers in the peewee division, coaching it up like he has been for so long. We wish Tom the very best in his battle with this horrible disease.
Until next year, that’s a wrap from sunshine state.