By Lonny Lovins | June 17th, 2013
This weekend marked the end of our NARCh regional tournament series for 2013, what a weekend it was. While Daryn was hard at work taking great photographs, and editing video, I got a chance to see a lot of great hockey. It got me excited to see what the finals is going to bring.
I also got a chance to meet Phil Nolan and all of the rest of the the wonderful staff here at the Hershey Centre. For those of you who may not know Phil, he is a rock for the sport of Roller Hockey in the Toronto/Mississauga area. He puts in a lot of his own time and money to insure that the sport stays as popular as ever. That is not to take away from what everyone else in the sport does, but just a chance to show off another in our ranks who is willing to do whatever it takes to grow the sport.
Here is how the divisions shook out.
MITE DIVISION – 10u – We had 3 teams in this division including a couple that were relatively new to tournament play. So the division was not as competitive as some of our Mite divisions can be, but it was spectacular to watch the kids play hard and do their best.
The Oakville Tour Coyotes were the class of the division scoring 19 goals while only surrendering 3 in the preliminary rounds. They were seeded 1st and had a bye to the finals, where they would face the winner of the Mississauga Mission Rattlers and the Mudhogs.
In the Mite playoff, the Rattlers, who had mercied the Mudhogs earlier, found themselves in a bit more of a competitive game. The score was 2-0 Rattlers going into the half. Early in the 2nd half, Brennan Rupert scored for the Mudhogs, to make the game 2-1. However the Rattlers would score quickly to make it 3-1 and never look back as they won the game 6-2.
This would move the Rattlers into the final against a very strong Oakville Tour Coyotes team. The Coyotes coming off of a 1st round bye came into the final ready to play. Early in the 1st half they got on the board with Isbelle Hardy scoring a beauty. If the Coyotes thought that this game was going to be a repeat of the mercy they had handed the Rattlers the day before, they were wrong. The Rattlers hung in under a barrage of shots and stellar play by their goaltender, Easton Smith. They would tie the game 8 minutes into the first, and the dogfight was on. The game was back and forth until late in the 1st when the Coyotes scored back to back goals 12 seconds apart. The Rattlers would score one more to make it interesting, but the Coyotes would hold on to win the Gold Medal.
SQUIRT DIVISION – 12u – It was interesting the way the Squirt division played out, as by the end of the early rounds we would have a mish mash final. In the Platinum finals we would have two teams from Oakvilles facing off against each other, while in the Gold Final game, we had the KW Inline team playing against the Mississauga Mission Rattlers White team.
The Squirt Gold Final game was very well played as KW Inline played hard early and went up 2-0 on goals from #58 Jakob Beacock, and #15 Liam Kelly. In the 2nd period the Rattlers scored 20 seconds in to make it 2-1, on a goal from #44 Matthew Bird. That is all the Rattlers would see, as #33 Colin Hobson, from KW Inline, was too much goaltender for them. KW Inline would take the gold medal by a score of 3-1.
The Squirt Platinum Final was a match between the Oakville Coyote 01′s and the Oakville Coyote 02′s. This game was interesting as it was hotly contested in the first half. The 01′s took a lead, and the 02′s answered right away. Then the 01′s would score again on a sweet play by #89 Patrick Vulgan to #27 Brendan Bowie. But 11 seconds later, the 02′s would come back with another goal, this time by their own #27 Emmett Serensits. The 1st half would end with a score of 3-2 in favor of the 01′s. In the second half the 01′s would put their foot on the gas as #89 Patrick Vulgan and #27 Brendan Bowie combined for 7 points to put the game away. The Coyote 01′s would win the Squirt Platinum Gold medal by a score of 9 – 3.
PEE WEE DIVISION – 14u – Usually when we split teams into Platinum and Gold based on the round robin games, it works the way it is supposed to. We have our strong teams in Gold and our Stronger teams in Platinum. However, sometimes you get a team that goes above and beyond to win a game which catapults them into a territory they weren’t expecting to be in. This is what happened in the Pee Wee division as one of our “Gold” teams ended up in better round robin position than one of our “Platinum” teams. It made the playoffs tougher for them, and a lot easier for our other team.
In Pee Wee division the Wheels of Anarchy found themselves with a tough draw in the round robin. They had to play two strong Pee Wee Platinum teams. Losing both games dropped them down to the Gold playoffs, as the better ranked KW Rage would get the nod to play in the Platinum playoffs.
In the 1st Gold Playoff, the Wheels of Anarchy played the KW Rage 99 team in the first game. The Wheels of Anarchy came out strong and continued strong throughout the game as they took care of the Rage by a score of 7-1.
In the 2nd Gold playoff we had a little more of a nailbiter, as the Mudhogs and the Mississauga Mission Rattlers Red played hard fought back and forth game. In the end the Mudhogs just pushed a little harder and pushed the Rattlers out of the playoffs by a score of 6 – 4.
The Pee Wee Gold Final was tough for the Mudhogs. They had just come off of a big win in the playoff game only to run up against a brick wall in the Wheels of Anarchy. Wheels of Anarchy, still steaming from not making the Platinum playoffs, came out and played the way they were capable of playing. On 6 points from #88 Dante Sheriff, they handled the Mudhogs 8-0 to win the Gold Medal.
The Pee Wee Platinum playoffs had a little bit more parity, but not a whole lot. The Mississauga Bad News Bears were the class of the division, as they mercied every team on their way to the #1 seed. They played an overachieving KW Rage in the 1st round playoff game. The KW Rage made a game of it as long as they could but eventually they were overwhelmed by the Bad News Bears, 7-1.
In the 2nd Pee Wee Platinum playoff game we had the Tour Oakville Coyotes playing against an upstart Mississauga Mission Rattlers Black team. The game was back and forth affair for the first few minutes as each team was feeling the other out. In the end though, the Coyotes were too much for the Rattlers Black to handle. The Coyotes took the game and cemented their spot in the final by a score of 7-3.
In the Pee Wee Platinum final, we had the #1 Mississauga Bad New Beards and #2 Tour Oakville Coyotes playing against each other. On paper this looked like it was going to be a good match up, as the teams were separated by only 1 goal against and 3 goals for in the round robin. In a rough game where there were a lot of penalties, (44 mins in all.) the team with the best power play was going to win. On this day it was the Bad News Bears as they connected on 4 power play goals, 3 of them by #15 Mitchell Byrne, to put the Coyotes in a hole they could not climb out of. The Bad News bears cruised to the Platinum final gold medal by a score of 7-2.
BANTAM DIVISION – 16u – The Bantam division provided us with the best round robin games, and the best playoff games. The division was so tight as far as points went, that our Platinum and Gold divisions were separated by 1 goal against.
The Bantam Gold final game was between the Brampton Warriors and the Can/Am Mafia. These two teams provided one of our more heated round robin games, where there was a mix of everything. Nice goals, a lot of penalties and even a little scrum. In the round robin game, the Warriors skated to a 4-2 victory. Battered, bruised but not broken, the Can/Am Mafia came into the Gold Final ready to play. As they went up to a quick 3-1 lead with 2 goals from #91 Nolan Riley, and another added by #15 Adam Owczarczak. Brampton came storming back in the 2nd with 3 goals by their own sniper #27 Dylan Holt. #88 from the Mafia, Jake Plew tied the game up mid way through the 2nd which would set us up for a great finish. With time winding down, The Mafia’s #88 Jake Plew would strike again with the game winner. Brampton would pull their goaltender but it was too little too late, as Can/Am took this game in dramatic fashion 5-4.
As the day went on the final games got better and better. In our Bantam Platinum final we would be in for a treat. The Mississauga Mission Rattlers White would be taking on the Tour Oakville Coyotes. Let me reiterate that wins and losses aside, all the top teams in this division were separated by a few goals. This game was a beauty as both teams would score in the 1st period and leave us with a tie at the intermission. The 2nd period and the game looked as if it were going to belong to the Coyotes, as #61 Gavin Gaughn and #92 Stephen Jablonski, would score giving them a 2 goal lead with less than 2 minutes to play. As they say the worst lead in hockey is 3-1, and it was proven true again as #83 Matthew Galli, and #88 Ryan Valentini would score 19 seconds apart to tie this game with 1:30 remaining. We went to over time where each team would have a number of good chances, including a minute of power play time late, but neither team could find the back of the net. We move on to the shootout. In the shootout the Rattlers #19 Brandon Glover would start the scoring off by netting a beauty glove side. None of the 1st three shooters for the Coyotes would score, as Rattler goaltender Chris Boen looked cooler than the other side of the pillow as he gloved the first shot and pushed the others away. The Coyotes would get a chance for reprieve as #24 Matthew Boulby would score a laser low blocker shot to tie the shootout. In steps #97 Kyle Soper for the Rattlers. If he scores they win, if he misses we go into extra shooters. Skating right to left Kyle let go a low blocker shot that looked as if goaltender Marco Santelli was going to stop. However this puck had eyes, legs and as much drive to get to the net as Kyle did. It trickled in and the rest was history. The Rattlers won our best game of the day in a shootout. Final score 4-3.
MIDGET DIVISION – 18u – Our Midget division was as wide open as you would expect the Midget division to be. The strongest teams ended up in the Platinum final as you would expect, but it would take a little math to figure out our Gold Final.
In our Gold Final we had our team with the best name, in my opinion, the Ehhh Team facing off against the Mississauga Mission Rattlers White. The Ehhh team felt as if they hadn’t fully played up to their potential in the round robin, so they came into the Gold final game with a little to prove. Although going down early in the game, 1-0, they rattled off 3 goals to end the 1st period up 3-1. Contributions came from everywhere on the Ehhh Team as they continued to pour it on throughout the 2nd. At the end of the game they surrendered a couple of late goals but essentially they cruised to a 7-4 victory.
Our Midget Platinum featured the Mayhem against The Mississauga Mission Rattelers Black. This game was a game of goaltending and tight defensive play. In this game we had both of our top goalies playing against each other. They were so close in statistics that I had to use this championship game to determine the winner. Mayhem started the scoring less than a minute in with a goal by #82 Brett Bloor. Unfortunately for them, that is all they would get as the Rattlers relentless defense limited their shots and chances. The Rattlers themselves would throw everything including the kitchen sink at Mayhem goalie Harrison Deganais. They would finally break through late in the 1st with 2 goals by #11 Aidan Board and #42 Andrew Oosterveld respectively. The Rattlers would add another goal later in the 2nd to cement their gold medal with a 3-1 victory. However in the best goalie competition, Harrison Deganais from the Mayhem would have the last laugh with a 91% save percentage to take home the hardware.
MENS/JR DIVISION – The rough and tumble Jr/Men’s division was a blast to see, as there were some very strong teams and a couple of other teams feeling out the competition so they could figure out where to place their teams for finals.
In the Gold Final We had two teams that had gotten here two very different ways. The Mississauga Mission Rattlers Grey went through the prelims playing solidly and picking up 3 wins and easing into the final. While the Hogtown Hooligans had a rough start but them picked up their play as they won 2 of their 3 final games to get into the playoffs by 1 point. The game was excellent in the beginning as both teams played tough. The younger and faster Rattler team being countered by the cagey and smarter Hooligans team. Both teams had 2 goals in the 1st as we headed to the intermission tied. The 2nd period was all Rattlers, as #19 Alex Derlis put the team on his shoulders and carried them with his 3 2nd period goals. Rattler Goalie Chris Will was solid as well stopping everything he faced in the final frame as the Rattlers rolled to a 7-2 victory.
Our last Platinum final pitted two teams against each other that will be playing in the Junior Division at finals. The Mississauga Mission Rattlers Black, and the Mississauga Mission Rattlers White would play each other in a game that no one thought would be as hotly contested as it was. The Rattlers Black cruised through the prelims with 3 mercies in 4 games, making them the top seed with 8 points. While the Rattlers black played every game pretty close, to reach the finals with 7 points. In the final it was a testament to how strong both of these teams are all around. As everyone contributed on the score sheet. The Rattlers Black started the scoring in the 1st minute and thought they would have the game easily under control. However, the Rattlers white answered with 2 quick goals by # 89 Shane Conacher and #42 Andrew Oosterveld. Late in the 1st period, the Rattlers Black looked to blow the game open with 3 fast goals. We went into the half with the Black leading the White 4-2. In the 2nd period the White team came out hot again scoring 2 quick goals and forcing the Black team back on their heals a bit. With a tie game, it was Rattlers Black sniper #19 Daniel Leavens who broke the bind and put his team up by 1. Shane Conacher from the White team would score a minute later to knot it up again. However, #91 Calvin Higley from the Black squad would score the GW and the Black team would never look back. They added an empty netter for good measure and held on to beat the Rattlers White 7-5.
All in all this tournament was an exciting look into what we can expect at the NARCh finals in a few weeks. Until we meet again, keep skating hard and shooting the lights out.