By Lonny Lovins:
Nor-Cal Cup is up and going in Stockton and we had a great day 1. On a side note, coming from Silver Creek Sportsplex, which is the best facility I have been to, it is nice to see the facility in Stockton taken care of the way that it is. From the clean glass, the well taken care of boards, and the nice floor, you can tell that they pride in the product they are providing.
The Atom and Mite divisions played all of their games today, providing us with a couple of really exciting championship games.
Atom Division – Our Atom division had 3 teams playing for the title, the Ripon Ravens, The Revolution, and the San Jose Inline Sharks. The Revolution had a tough draw in this division against some really strong teams, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t try really hard. They played well, and as always I love seeing the future of the sport playing in the young divisions. The Ravens and the SJ Inline Sharks played a close game in the preliminary round with the Ravens taking a 6-5 victory. This would give the Ravens a bye into the championship game, while the SJ Sharks would play against the Revolution in the first playoff game.
The Revolution snapped up a quick lead 2 minutes into the game and it looked as if they were going to be in this game, but the Sharks quickly started peppering the Revolution goaltender. This seemed to be the theme of the tournament for the Revolution, as their lead quickly evaporated and the game spiraled out of their reach. The Sharks continued the pressure, and eventually took it to the Revolution by a score of 7-3.
The Final gave us the rematch of the great game in the prelims. The Sharks and the Ravens both came out hot, with the Sharks scoring the first goal 3 minutes into the game. The Ravens would answer with a goal 5 minutes later to tie the game. The Ravens would score again with 3 minutes left in the 1st period to take a 2-1 lead into halftime. The 2nd period was all Ripon, as they scored 20 seconds into the period, and continued to dominate as they scored 2 more goals before the Sharks could score another goal. Once the Sharks put their second goal on the board, the Ravens quickly answered with 2 goals to make the score 7-2. The Sharks would get a few more chances, but nothing substantial as the Ravens would add another goal for good measure late in the game, and skate to an easy 8-2 victory.
Top scorer for the Atoms went to Luis Gutierrez from the Ravens with 6 goals and 1 assist. The top goalie went to Brett DeVincent from the Revolution with a 79% save percentage, he stopped an amazing 52 out of 66 shots for the tournament!
Mite Division – The Mite division was a tale of two teams for the Gold Final, and a couple of scrappy up and coming teams for the Silver Final.
In our Gold final, we had the high flying Delta River Rats team against the Revolution. Both of these teams were very strong, dominating the other teams in round robin play. They did face each other in the prelims with the River Rats taking a closely fought 4-2 victory.
The final was rough for the Revolution, as they had a game right before, and their legs were a little dead. The River Rats came out strong, like they always do, and they did not let off of the gas the entire game. The River Rats scored midway through the 1st to open up the scoring. The Rats would add two more goals before the Revolution got on the board. At the end of the 1st period, it was River Rats holding a commanding 3-1 lead. The 2nd period was almost a mirror image of the 1st, as the River Rats again scored 3 goals to the Revolution’s 1 goal skating to an easy victory of 6-2.
In the Silver Final, the Silicon Valley Quakes played against the Ripon Ravens. The Ravens impressed me a lot, as their Mite team consisted of a lot of Atom level players. The Quakes team was strong as well, but they were shorthanded on the bench with only a couple subs. This made this game the game of the day to watch. Both teams were skating to a scoreless tie until roughly midway through the 1st period when the Quakes broke the deadlock. The Quakes would add a couple more goals to go up by three. As the period was winding down, the Ravens would get on the board, making it a 3-1 Quakes lead as we went into the half. Coming out of halftime, the Ravens jumped on a loose puck 30 seconds in, and scored to cut the lead. The Quakes scored quickly to regain their 2 goal lead. The game went on this way until about 7 minutes left when the Ravens scored to again cut the lead to 1 goal. The Ravens would score again a minute later to tie the game. At this point it was a race to the finish. The Quakes scored to re take the lead with 6 minutes left. They would add what seemed to be an insurance goal about a minute and a half later. The Ravens not to be out done, would score with 3 minutes left and then add the game tying goal with 1:30 left in the game. The Quakes would call timeout, and draw up a play, or let the kids mill around while the coaches chatted with them, I am not sure which. Whatever they did, it worked. The Quakes made a nice tic-tac-toe play and scored with a minute left in the game. The Revolution pulled their goalie and threw everything they could at the net. The Quakes goaltender was under fire for the last 1:02 of the game, as he turned away what seemed like 10 shots. In the end, he was up to the task, and the Quakes clung to their 1 goal lead for the victory.
Top Scorer for the Mites with 7 goals and 4 assists for 11 points was #33 from the Delta River Rats Dominic Hofferber. Top goalie for the mites with 54 saves on 65 shots for an 83% save percentage, from the Revolution #1 Tristan Telles.
Day 1 proved to be an exciting affair, I will have a full tournament wrap up when we go final from Stockton.