Nor Cal Cup Tournament Recap

This weekend we kicked off the Nor Cal Cup Season at Silver Creek Sportsplex.  It’s the 3rd year of the series and from all indications at the rink the last two days it’s going to be the best season yet. 

When I walked in the door Saturday it was sort of like seeing a large extended family that I haven’t seen in a while.  Walking from the door to our booth I was greeting with many handshakes, smiles, and even some hugs. 

Silver Creek was packed and it was clear that everyone was eager to start the tournament season.  We witness some great games, and a few blowouts, but no matter what end of the score teams were on, everyone had fun.

In action Saturday were the atoms, squirts, bantams, and midgets, while the cubs, mites, and peewees battled on Sunday.  Here’s how each division played out.

Cubs- The Sportsplex Spiders and San Jose Inline Sharks battled it out for gold in our cub division.  I have children only a few years removed from this division and while watching these little boys and girls I can’t help but think of my own and get a little sad that they’re growing up so fast.  I have a feeling I’m not alone, as parents of other kids find their way to the rink that the cubs are playing on and reflect back on the time that their kids started and marvel at the cuteness being displayed on the rink.  At this age it honestly doesn’t matter who wins or loses as long as everyone has a great time.  In the case of this matchup, the experience of the Sharks prevailed and they took home the gold medals.   It’s just a color though, every player left with a medal and a smile.

Atoms – 4 teams competed in this division.  The San Jose Inline Sharks are a new program, but they had some familiar faces, many of which played on the Quakes Cub Team last year that did very well.  The Quakes also had a team, along with the Ripon Ravens and Sportsplex Spiders.  

The Sharks looked very strong every game with a very balanced scoring attack.  5 different players had over 10 points each!  They also played strong defensively, only letting in one goal the whole tournament, which was in the gold championship to the Quakes.   The Sharks walked away with the gold medals in a convincing fashion, while the Quakes finished 2nd, only losing to the Sharks while defeating the Spiders and Ravens.

The Ripon Ravens would take home the silver championship over the Spiders, formerly the Spongebobs.   The Ravens are also a young squad with a promising future and I’m sure they’ll continue to improve every tournament. 

A lot of credit for building the sport in the younger divisions needs to be given to Ellen Glass and John Chiala.  They’ve worked hard for 3-4 years now taking house league kids from Silver Creek Sportsplex and nurturing them into a tournament team.  While their teams usually take their lumps at first, it’s proven to be a real feeder for the sport, motivating new kids and parents alike.   We are very grateful for their dedication and commitment to the sport.

Mite Division – With a 5-team mite division we used a round robin format, so every team played one another and got 4 preliminary games.   After the dust settled and the round robin played out we would see the Revision Mustangs and San Jose Inline Sharks square off for the gold title and the San Jose Tsunami Red and SV Quakes do battle for the silver championship.

In their first meeting the Mustangs and Sharks tallied 14 goals between them, with the Mustangs coming out on top 8-6.  The championship would have a lot less scoring, but certainly didn’t lack excitement.    In the final, the Revision Mustangs would score first just 13 seconds into the game on a goal by #7 Evan Haley.  There’s a golden rule in hockey that you don’t want to let up a goal the first minute or last minute of a period, and in this game that quick snipe turned out to be a big one.

Both teams battled hard throughout.  #9 Paul Nelson and #29 Jeremiah Dolmo were clicking for the Mustangs, as Paul had two goals, both assisted by Jeremiah.   The Quakes battled hard and never gave up and certainly had their chances.   They had a power play at the end of the game and put many shots on net, but the Mustangs would outlast the Quakes by the narrow margin of 4-3 to take home the title.

As close as that game was, the mite silver championship between the San Jose Tsunami Red and SV Quakes had even more drama.  We were knotted at 2-2 for most of the second half, then just inside 3 minutes remaining in the game #88 for Tsunami, Reyes LeGrande would put his team up 3-2.   The Quakes applied a lot of pressure at the end, and with just a minute left to play #6 Ben Shiverdaker would have a beautiful bar-down goal to tie it up again.  It appeared that we would head to overtime, but with just a few seconds left #12 Ryan Tuckwood of the Quakes would find himself with a semi-breakaway.  He made no mistake with his opportunity, shooting low blocker side, hitting the left post and going in with just 4 seconds remaining on the clock.   Quakes take it, 4-3.

Squirt Division – The 12-and-under division consisted of 8 teams.   4 of the 8 teams would end up with the same record after prelims, so we would have to use goals against to determine playoff placement.  Out of those 4 tied teams the San Jose Inline Sharks would get past the Quakes 2000, and the Ripon Ravens would defeat the Tsunami to set the stage for the silver championship. 

The Ravens and Sharks faced each other in the prelims and tied in a very exciting high scoring affair, 9-9.  This time around the Sharks would jump out to a big lead early and never look back.  They led 5-1 at half, but the Ravens would battle back to make it at least interesting in the 2nd half.  In the end the Sharks were too deep and #91 Alex Ahmed was the unstoppable force, scoring 5 of the Sharks 9 goals.  Final score 9-5.

 In the squirt gold playoffs the Quakes 01’s would defeat the Mustangs 00’s 4-1, and the Mustangs 01’s would defeat the NorCal Extreme 5-1.   The Mustangs 01’s and the Quakes 01’s are probably my favorite friendly rivalry to watch.   They battled all year last year as mites, with each team defeating the other at different events throughout the season.    This game would turn out to be the best game of the tourney.

The Quakes would jump out early, with two quick goals by #87 Matt Cicisly.  The game would settle down though and go into the half with the Quakes up 2-1.   The Mustangs would have the slight scoring advantage in the second half outscoring the Quakes 2-1 to send this game to overtime.  It’s worth noting that both teams had many chances to win the game in the last 2 minutes, leaving everyone in the crowd at the edge of their seats.   #6 for the Quakes, Jaden Guzman, is an amazing skater that was flying all over the rink all game and had a few quality scoring chances in the last few minutes.   #45 for the Mustangs, Dylan Franks, found himself free on a breakaway with less than a minute to go.  He made a nice move to go backhand deke, but Quakes goaltender Marisa Trevino made an amazing sprawling save to send it to overtime.

In overtime Dylan would get a 2-1 with teammate Evan Gengarella.  Dylan is a sniper, already scoring 2 of the 3 goals in the game for the Mustangs.  Most people probably expected him to shoot, but instead he slid it across to Evan who would bury the game winner.  It was a nice play and Marisa even slid across and got a piece of it, but the pucks momentum would eventually cross the goal line, almost in slow motion fashion to add further drama to this amazing finish.  I can’t wait to watch these two teams play again.

Peewee Division – 8 teams battled it out thisweekend in the 14u division.  The NorCal Extreme grabbed the overall #1 seed and did not allow a goal while winning their first 3 games.  Nor Cal Elite also finished undefeated and grabbed the #2 seed.

The Extreme would face off against the Tsunami Blue in the gold semi-final and the Tsunami came to play!  They defeated the Extreme 5-3 and would face NCR Tour Elite, who cruised past the Revision Mustangs in their semi-final matchup.   The Elite  peewees pretty much dominated every team they faced this tournament and the championship was no exception.  With their balanced scoring attack and solid goaltending they cruised to a 10-2 victory over Tsunami Blue to capture gold.

The SV Quakes had the tough challenge of facing both the Tsunami Blue and NCR Tour Elite in the prelims and were defeated by both, so they landed in the silver division.  They defeated the San Jose Inline Sharks by a score of 5-1 in the silver semi-final and the San Jose Tsunami Red defeated the Rampage to make the championship game.   These two teams also faced each other in the preliminary round and the Quakes came out on top in a great game, 5-4.   Unfortunately this championship game was not nearly as close, as the Quakes rolled to a 7-1 victory.

Bantam Division – A whopping 10 teams would compete in this division.   NCR Tour Elite 96’s and Rampage 1 would be the only two with a perfect record after the prelims.   The Elite and Rampage programs each had two teams in the division, and Murphy’s Law would creep into the division and make sure that the two Rampage Teams would have to face each other in the playoffs, and the same would hold true for the Elite.  Rampage 1 would defeat Rampage 2 and NCR 96’s would defeat the younger 97’s to set the stage for the championship.

Rampage 1 is a solid squad, but NCR is picking up right were it left off last year, as the bantam team with a bit of separation from the rest of the pack.   The Elite have a balanced attacked and really controlled this game from start to finish.  5 different goal scorers accounted for their 6 goals, as they went on to a 6-1 victory in the gold championship.

Both silver semifinals were great games.  The NorCal Extreme would get past the Revision Mustangs 4-2 and the SV Quakes would defeat the San Jose Inline Sharks by the same score.   It was a long day for the bantams since it was our largest division and this would be our last championship of the night, kicking off a little after 11pm.   The Extreme would dominate in this championship with good defense and constant pressure on the Quakes.  Extreme goaltender Nic Leacox would earn a shutout, and the Extreme cruised to a 6-0 victory.

Midget Division  - 6 teams competed in this balanced division.  The Revision Mustangs and Public Enemy did not win a game, but they were still competitive in multiple games. 

 NCR Tour Elite and the Saxons tied when they faced each other the first game, but each would win their next 2 games and end up facing each other for the gold championship.   This game was back and forth in terms of flow and shots on net, but #73 Kyle Aldrich took over for the Elite, scoring 3 times and adding a helper.  NCR Elite would win the championship by a final of 5-2 over the Saxons.

The silver championship would also be a rematch game between the SV Quakes and Jokers.  In the first game the Quakes defeated the Jokers 3-1.   The championship would be a similar style of game, as the Quakes took a 1-0 lead into half.  The Jokers would score next to knot the score at 1’s.    #12 Spencer Marquiss caught fire for the Quakes, scoring twice in just over a 3-minute span to put his team up 3-1.  The Jokers would add a late goal to pull within 1, but that’s how this one would end.  Final score 3-2 Quakes.

 That’s a wrap on our first tournament of the new season.   A special thank you to my tournament directors, referees, scorekeepers, and the Silver Creek Staff for continuing to help me run great tournaments.  We hope you had as much fun as we did and we hope to see you at our next tournament in Ripon!