By Jeremy Ellis
Rise and shine! I am just getting into the rink on the final day of this year’s event. One tends to forget how long a 15 hour day at the rink can be when witnessing great hockey mixed with a little football on TV all day long. Daryn capped off the night with some notes on yesterday’s action. So, without further ado, let’s get after it!
Daryn told you earlier of his affinity for the Cub division. How can you blame him, the smiles, the effort, heck even the wipe outs can be fun to watch! These are the future of this game and the only way we can carry on the good thing we have is by continuing to grow it. NARCh tries to do that by making the experience for these youngsters a memorable one. We had enough Cub teams this year to have gold and silver finals. This is always nice since all four teams were able to pick up medals. The best part is watching the little guys go out to receive the medals; they can hardly contain their excitement. In the end the Rockets team rose to the top, taking home the Gold bracket. They have some excellent future talent there. On the Silver side, it was the home team, Silver Creek Spiders, winning by a shutout.
Next up was the Pee Wee division, commencing with the Silver final between the Silicon Valley Quakes and the Alkali High Rollers. This one got my vote for game of the day. Tied at 1 going into halftime, the action was both intense and back and forth. The quakes went up midway through the second half only to be tied by the quakes a short time later. It stayed that way as both teams utilized their timeouts with under a minute remaining. It looked as if we would be placing a 3 in the period column, except that the High Rollers had a different idea. After a nice save at their end, the Rollers transitioned quickly with a 2 on 1 the other way. With only 5 seconds remaining on the clock, a wicked wrister found the top corner to seal the deal for the High Rollers. Definitely a tough pill to swallow for the quakes, but they played an excellent tournament.
In Pee Wee Gold, the KIHA Warriors and NCR Tour Elite locked horns. The warriors have had the best fan support this entire weekend so the rink was rocking. This was another barn burner with the score tied at 2 late into the second half. Eventually the Elite broke through for the go ahead goal and moments later added an empty netter to put the nail in the coffin. NCR has been a powerhouse the last couple years and they hopefully will be able to showcase that at Finals this summer.
The Pro final was next up. Daryn told you last night about that one, as the Alkali RPD maintained puck possession for most of the game. I will echo his comments though regarding Travis Noe. He has taken his game to another level in the past couple of years. His talent is one thing, but paired with his size and speed, he is the sport’s ultimate weapon. Congrats to RPD and great run for the Bullies, I look forward to seeing these teams go at it again at Finals.
The final championship games of the night were in Mens, platinum and silver final. The platinum game featured two familiar foes from back home in southern California. Labeda Clippers and the PAMA Cyclones have been battling it out for years. It was another hotly contested battle, but in the end PAMA pulled it out by a score of 4-2. While some tempers flared on the rink, these two teams shared beverages at the High Five post game. Always good to see teams ‘leave it on the rink.’
The Silver final provided an electric atmosphere. The foreign contingent here at the rink stuck around to add to the excitement. Chanting, cheering and the banging on the glass added to the fun. The Argentos were the crowd favorite as they took on the Merge. The Merge team name is unique and has a backstory. College rivals USC and Cal Berkley had players come together to form a tournament team, thus the name Merge. The uniforms are pretty sharp with both college logos incorporated in the design. Another close on through both periods, but in the end the Merge “emerged” victorious by a count of 7-5.
All in all it was an awesome day at the rink. Seeing as how I hadn’t had enough hockey yet this weekend, I decided to lace them up for the over 35 division. Playing the last game of the night allowed me to see the lights dim for the third straight evening. Late nights and early mornings make for a good sleep whenever I can get it. We still have a few games to go and more medals to hang around necks. I will be back later to close out the remaining championships and recap the event.