By Lonny Lovins:
We are heading into the wee hours of the night here in Huntington Beach, and while most people would be asleep or out at this hour, we still have some hockey games to settle before the night is over.
With all of the games we have had go to overtime, coupled with the low amount of mercies that we have had, it has added up to a long day, but a day filled with great hockey. We have had a few divisions go final already, and each of those games have been hard fought and close.
It is incredible to see all of the teams that have travelled from Nevada and Arizona to join us at this tournament. We even have a couple of teams from Yuma and Prescott. While that may not seem that odd to some of you out there, it is definitely something new to me. Our Pro Division featured 9 teams, which is a nice uptick from what we were expecting. Apparently the hockey bug has hit my home town of San Diego again as well, as many of the kids I grew up with, are here and playing for adult teams. I am excited to see that all of my old friends haven’t given the game up. I look forward to seeing them at finals in the near future.
Each one of the Pro Division games were a lot of fun to watch. Even the team that was seeded last in the division, gave both of our Pro finalist teams a run for their money. As always, I preface the division discussion with the fact that I will go into more detail when I do the final write up.
The Pro Division final was more about the stellar goaltending of Mike Urbano, than anything else that happened. Mike played incredibly well throughout the tournament, but especially during the last game of round robin and the final. The Las Vegas Tour Rebels team controlled most of the play thanks to Mr. Urbano, and the Outcasts were not able to figure out a way to score until it was much too late in the game to mount an effective comeback. The Rebels skated to the victory in convincing fashion 4-1.
The “best of the rest” in the Pro Division played in the Men’s Platinum final. This game gave us Red Army playing against the Pama Cyclones. This was an intense game that featured a lot of nice goals, and an overtime period. Both of these teams just missed playing in the Pro Final, and watching the intensity of this game made you think that they still felt like they belonged in that game. In the end Red Army would get a loose puck early in the overtime frame and end the game. If they travel to Florida, I think that Red Army may be able to wrest control of the Platinum Division from the Cyclones. We will see in a month and a half.
The Midget Platinum Final was really entertaining as well. This was another game that went to overtime. The Mission Outcasts and the Mission Bauer Raiders Green were so evenly matched, that they skated to a tie in round robin play. So it was no surprise that it would take an extra frame for this game to be decided. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they would take a tripping call in the overtime period, which would give the deadly Outcast powerplay unit a chance to shine. It would only take a few seconds on the powerplay for the Outcast team to score and take the gold medal.
Our only real blowout of the night in the final games came from our Midget Gold game. Team XDH couldn’t put together a strong enough round robin set of games to pull off the same miracle we saw them pull in Irvine. However, that didn’t keep them from hanging a big number on a depleted Raw Steel roster. Raw Steel had been skating with 5 skaters the entire tournament, and it finally caught up with them in this final, as the stronger and faster XDH team overwhelmed them.
We will get rolling bright and early in the morning, and we will be serving up finales most of the day. Hopefully I can get some shut eye tonight, so the my “Bruce Buffer” impersonation is good to go. LEEEEEEEETTTTTTT’S GET READY TO RUUUUUUUUUUUMBLE!